Powerball jackpot in NJ hits half-billion dollars: What to do if you win
With the Powerball jackpot growing to an annuity value of over a half billion dollars, what do you do when you win?
The jackpot was last won on Aug. 3 and has gone 32 drawings without a jackpot winner.
Monday night's numbers were: 19, 30, 36, 46, and 60. The Red Power Ball number was 25. The Power Play was 3X.
Wednesday's jackpot now has an annuity value of $508 million with a cash jackpot of $256.3 million.
Priceless advice for winners
No matter the amount of the jackpot, the rules are the same for such a life-changing event, according to financial planner Lou Scatigna, with AFM Investments of Toms River. His first piece of advice is for winners to keep the news to themselves.
"The first thing you need to do is shut up," Scatigna told New Jersey 101.5.
"You can't let people know your fortune. A lot of times you'll see people on TV three days after they win. That's probably the biggest mistake you can make because you're not mentally prepared for the onslaught of press you're going to get as well as people who want to take advantage of your fortune."
Resisting the call of the media
But Scatigna said there are people who can't resist their moment in the spotlight.
"People with fragile egos and so forth, they want to be on TV. They want everyone to know how rich they are all of a sudden, and that's a mistake because the less people that know, the better in almost every situation," Scatigna said.
The spotlight will also bring unwanted calls from financial advisors, people looking for investors in their business, stock brokers, and lawyers all looking for your money.
Hire a professional
"The key here is to surround yourself with a great accountant, a great financial planner, and a great lawyer that have experience with things like this to make sure you're counseled properly and you don't do anything without vetting it through your personal committee," Scatigna said.
The New Jersey Lottery advises winners to sign their winning ticket, put it in a secure place and make an appointment to bring the ticket to lottery headquarters in Mercer County.
Careful with office pool playing
Scatigna also said that if you are playing an office pool, to get a copy of the tickets. He also advised that if your pool has players who participate on a regular basis but are out sick make sure to cover them or face potential legal issues.
"If you have the same group that plays all the time and somebody's not there somebody's got to cover for them or you're going to have bad feelings at the least and taint a great win," Scatigna said.
For lottery wins over $599.50 the group needs to pick a contact person who will complete a claim form. Their Social Security number will be used on the form making them the primary recipient of the prize. IRS Form 5754 must also be completed in order to share the prize and pay taxes, according to the lottery.