Mega Millions and Powerball jackpots are above $400 million

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With Mega Millions and Powerball jackpots both topping $400 million, there are likely a lot of players daydreaming about how they’d spend such a windfall.

They also may want to think about what to do as a winner before the money actually reaches them. That is, there would be some big decisions to make before they even think about heading to lottery headquarters to claim the prize.

“This is extreme wealth,” said Walt Blenner, an attorney and founder of Blenner Law Group. “You really need to have everything in order.”

The Mega Millions jackpot has reached an estimated $405 million for Friday night’s drawing after no ticket matched all six numbers drawn Tuesday. Powerball’s top prize is $432 million for Wednesday night’s drawing.

While the chance of a single ticket winning the top prize in either game is miniscule — 1 in 302 million for Mega Millions and 1 in 292 million for Powerball — it’s still worth considering how you would handle such a windfall if you were to beat the odds.

Here are three immediate considerations for winners.

Who to tell

It’s best to share the news with only a small group, experts say

“Tell as few people as possible,” Blenner said. “That means your nuclear family, although I’d say don’t tell children other than to make a vague reference about how there will be changes to your life coming.”

You also may be able to shield your identity from the public, depending on what state you’re in. Although only a handful allow winners to remain completely anonymous, you may be able to claim your prize via a trust or limited liability corporation that doesn’t have your name on it.

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Generally speaking, this means enlisting the help of professionals. You should assemble a team that includes an attorney, a tax advisor and a financial advisor — all of whom are experienced in helping lottery winners navigate their windfall.

How to take your winnings

When to claim

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