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What Important Steps Should You Take After You Win the Lottery? — Dollars and Sense

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Justin Sullivan, Getty Images

Odds are you don’t possess one of the three winning tickets in the $656 million Mega Millions lottery, whose numbers were drawn on Friday.

But if you are, or if you have the good fortune to come into a fortune by hitting a jackpot in the future, there are some things you need to know.

While we all dream of the luxurious lives we’d lead if we ever won the lottery, have you ever stopped to think about what you should do in the hours and days right after you find out you’ve struck it rich?

Experts say protecting your money, identity and sanity are first and foremost, and they have some sage advice for people who’ve suddenly found themselves swimming in cash after a lottery win.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind should you find out you’re going to add a couple more couple more zeroes to your bank account:

1. Sign the back of the ticket. If you lose it or it’s stolen, this will keep anyone else from cashing it in. You should also make a copy of that golden ticket and put the original someplace safe.

2. Resist the temptation to shout the news from the rooftops. The more people who know, the more you’ll have to deal with a lot of outstretched hands who want a piece of your good fortune.

3. Get a lawyer. Oklahoma City attorney Richard Craig, whose firm has represented several lottery winners, helps clients assemble a team of financial managers, tax experts, accountants and bankers.

[The New York Times]

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