For both Powerball and Mega Millions, winners get anywhere from three or six months to one year to claim their prize, depending on where the winning ticket was purchased. In other words, there’s no need to rush over to lottery headquarters the day you win.
“The time between the day you win the lottery and the day you claim is your last period of normalcy,” Kurland said.
This is also when you should get busy assembling a team of professionals that ideally includes an attorney, accountant, insurance consultant and financial planner. An experienced attorney should be your first call.
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“Make sure you’re comfortable around each team member, and make sure they have the proper accreditation for their field,” Shagawat said. “You need a team around you to guard against being taken advantage of.”
Someone on the team will need to serve as your gatekeeper. That is, they can field requests from moochers or scammers or even friends and family members who want a piece of your windfall.