You've heard everyone's dreams of grandeur and "If I won the lottery, I'd do this...".

Stop right there. Buying a house, quitting your job, and that yacht might not be the best thing to do. Here's a list of Do's and Don'ts just in case you happen to fall into a couple million (or billion) dollars from the lottery.

Dennis J. Siciliano has given this critical advice to jackpot winners who have hired him to help them collect their prizes. Mr. Siciliano, an estate and business lawyer in Independence, Ohio, helped the winner of a $52 million Mega Millions jackpot in August 2004, serving as the trustee of a blind trust created to keep the winner’s name private. (NYTimes)


Tell people you've won.

Quit your job (it will take time to gather your winnings - paperwork and so on)

Buy expensive things

Sign the winning ticket (If you sign the ticket, but later want to remain anonymous, that could be a problem)


Secure the ticket

Don't tell anyone EXCEPT CLOSE PEOPLE (but if you can, shhh & don't tell anyone)


These folks will help you make smart decisions and protect you from family, the media, the public, the IRS, and spending your money too fast in all the wrong places with all the wrong investments. And if you're thinking about handing out gobs of cash to the family, wait a minute.

Distributing some of your winnings to other people may be subject to numerous taxes, including the federal gift tax and the estate tax. To share your prize without paying additional taxes may require proof that you bought the ticket with those people, Mr. Siciliano said. (NYTimes)

The key to all this is to slow down and be methodical. Pay the money to get some help and then enjoy your money.

But first, you gotta win.

Good luck with that.


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