What would you do if you won $1.5 billion Powerball jackpot?

'Lottery lawyer' offers tips to those who may find fortune
Posted at 11:38 PM, Nov 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-03 23:38:38-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Millions of dollars are up for grabs as the Powerball reaches $1.5 billion.

Saturday night's jackpot will be the second largest amount in the game's history.

What would you do if you win the top prize?

"I'll go crazy," Shamar Solis said. "Build more houses for people who need houses and stuff like that, give a lot to the community, build schools."

Before you set out to live large and buy that pricey pad or lavish ride, experts caution there are a few important things to consider and decisions to make.

Kurt Panouses is a "lottery lawyer" from Florida. He specializes in wills and estates, but since the 1980s he's represented more than 30 lucky lottery winners from across the country.

His best advice for jackpot winners is to keep quiet and hire an attorney.

"You want to put a team together, but you also want the team to be as small as possible, as far as the circle initially, to get the process going," he said. "You know, it's also very important to get a financial partner involved."

To help you remain anonymous, hold off on signing your name on the back of the ticket. Instead, form a trust or an LLC and sign using that name.

"That way, we put a whole bunch of vehicles in place to really make it very difficult for anyone to find out who the real owner is, and to give the person the privacy that they want, because anyone can make a public records request," Panouses said.

Lastly, when it comes to the option of lump sum versus the annuity, he suggests taking the cash up front.

If you're the winner Saturday night, that payout will be $745 million.

"I think taking the lump sum is the better way to go," Panouses said. "The other thing that you don't want to do is you don't really want to rely on the state of Florida sending you a check every year, because it's like winning the lottery every year. So you go through the same emotions. You go through the same concerns over anonymity."

The deadline to buy tickets is Saturday at 10 p.m.