December 7, 2022

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Powerball’s winning odds: You could get hit by lightning first

Powerball odds

Many Americans are likely double-checking the location of their Powerball tickets tonight as the jackpot sits at a whopping $1.9 billion ahead of the Monday evening drawing.

It is the largest U.S. lottery jackpot in history and the largest Powerball lottery jackpot in history, too — by $486 million.

The drawing takes place on Monday, November 7, at 10:59 p.m. ET.

The cash option would net a lucky winner $929.1 million — minus 37% federal taxes and all applicable state income taxes, as FOX Business has reported.

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Andrew Santana, co-chair of the corporate department at Philadelphia law firm Fox Rothschild LLP, assisted with a 2018 jackpot winner by signing the ticket on the person’s behalf — leaving the anonymous winner with the almost $200 million prize after taxes.

Santana revealed to Fox News Digital via email on Monday some important considerations in the heady moments after you win the $1.9 billion Powerball prize.

Andrew Santana, co-chair of the corporate department at Philadelphia law firm Fox Rothschild LLP, assisted a 2018 jackpot winner by signing the ticket on the person's behalf — leaving the anonymous winner with an almost $200 million prize (after taxes).

Andrew Santana, co-chair of the corporate department at Philadelphia law firm Fox Rothschild LLP, assisted a 2018 jackpot winner by signing the ticket on the person’s behalf — leaving the anonymous winner with an almost $200 million prize (after taxes).
(Fox Rothchild LLP)

“Do not lose the ticket or be careless with it,” he said.

“Also, do not sign the ticket until you understand whether the signatory’s information will become public when the prize is claimed.”

It is important not to tell anyone “other than an attorney engaged specifically to assist in claiming the prize,” he said, and “the people with whom you jointly purchased the ticket, if any.”

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A lottery ticket is a “bearer instrument,” Santana said.

That means that “whoever holds the ticket can claim the prize, so long as the name on the back of the ticket matches the person who presents the ticket to claim the prize.”

In most cases of lottery winnings, it’s easy to make “too many commitments and spend too much money quickly.”

Santana also said, “A lost or stolen ticket cannot be presented by its rightful owner to claim the prize.If other people know that you hold the ticket, they may try to make a claim to it.”

For example, he said, “someone might claim that you agreed to buy the ticket together and split the prize. Even worse, someone could attempt to steal the ticket from the rightful owner.”

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Santana also advised, “Do not quit your job immediately or otherwise alter your routine.”

Also, do not “commit to any purchases, gifts or other significant expenditures.”

After you win a lottery, it is very important to understand how much money you will actually be keeping, attorney Andrew Santana said.

After you win a lottery, it is very important to understand how much money you will actually be keeping, attorney Andrew Santana said.
(REUTERS/Andrew Kelly)

You could even tip off others about your big win by making extravagant purchases, said Santana.

“Committing to significant expenditures like buying a new house, an expensive luxury car or an extravagant vacation — if they are out of the ordinary for you — may lead others to assume you’ve won lottery,” he explained.

“In that case, those people will want something from you,” he continued.

You could even tip off others about your big win by making extravagant purchases, said Santana.

It is very important to understand how much you will actually be keeping before you go on a buying spree, Santana said.

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“A significant portion of the prize money may be withheld by the state that pays the prize and will be subject to additional taxation,” he said. “So it’s best to understand how much money you will have after taxes before you start spending.”

In most cases of lottery winnings, it’s easy to make “too many commitments and spend too much money quickly,” said Santana. This could leave the winner with “far less money than a winner should have.”

A Powerball ticket shown on left; Andrew Santana is on right. It's easy to make "too many commitments and spend too much money quickly," he said.

A Powerball ticket shown on left; Andrew Santana is on right. It’s easy to make "too many commitments and spend too much money quickly," he said.
(iStock/Fox Rothchild LLP)

It’s important to be careful and deliberate when spending, at least initially, said Santana, until you have developed good asset management practices.

If you want to remain an anonymous winner and you’re working with an attorney to maintain anonymity, it’s best to keep your normal routine until you’re prepared for questions about the prize, he also said.

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“Quitting a job immediately after the winning ticket is announced, especially if it is announced that the winning ticket was sold near your home or office, may lead co-workers, friends and family to assume you’ve won the prize,” he said.

If they do, he continued, “they will ask you questions about it, may claim a portion of the prize or make demands — and it will be very difficult to claim the prize safely and address the other issues that will arise.”

The services of an attorney are very important after a person wins a life-changing lottery prize, he said.

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“An attorney will assist the winner in claiming the prize properly, while protecting the winner’s anonymity, if possible,” notes Santana.

An attorney will also “assist in facilitating the claim and receiving funds,” and “assist in protecting the funds,” he added.