If you win a Powerball jackpot, be prepared: it might really suck. That's the advice of Reddit user BlakeClass, who posted a guide to dealing with a huge lottery win on Reddit back when the jackpot was a measly $656 million. In 2016, it climbed to $1.5 billion. The advice is both good and terrifying. Imagine having to wear a disguise just to pick up your reward money, or not tell anyone but a lawyer that you're suddenly, horrifyingly rich. That's only the beginning.
First, BlakeClass provides some background info on the horrifying fate of real-world lottery winners:
Congratulations! You just won millions of dollars in the lottery! That's great.
Now you're f*cked.
If you just want to skip the biographical tales of woe of some of the math-tax protagonists, skip on down to the next comment, to see what to do in the event you win the lottery.
You see, it's something of an open secret that winners of obnoxiously large jackpots tend to end up badly with alarming regularity. Not the $1 million dollar winners. But anyone in the nine-figure range is at high risk. Eight-figures? Pretty likely to be screwed. Seven-figures? Yep. Painful. Perhaps this is a consequence of the sample. The demographics of lottery players might be exactly the wrong people to win large sums of money. Or perhaps money is the root of all evil. Either way, you are going to have to be careful. Don't believe me? Consider this:
Large jackpot winners face double digit multiples of probability versus the general population to be the victim of:
Homicide (something like 20x more likely)
Bankruptcy (how's that for irony?)
And triple digit multiples of probability versus the general population rate to be:
Convicted of drunk driving
The victim of Homicide (at the hands of a family member) 120x more likely in this case, ain't love grand?
A defendant in a civil lawsuit
A defendant in felony criminal proceedings
Believe it or not, your biggest enemy if you suddenly become possessed of large sums of money is... you. At least you will have the consolation of meeting your fate by your own hand. But if you can't manage it on your own, don't worry. There are any number of willing participants ready to help you start your vicious downward spiral for you. Mind you, many of these will be "friends," "friendly neighbors," or "family." Often, they won't even have evil intentions. But, as I'm sure you know, that makes little difference in the end. Most aren't evil. Most aren't malicious. Some are. None are good for you.
Finally, here's his advice if you do meet this horrible fortune:
This is the absolutely most important thing you can do right away: NOTHING.
DO NOT DECLARE YOURSELF THE WINNER yet.
Do NOT tell anyone. The urge is going to be nearly irresistible. Resist it. Trust me.
/ 1. IMMEDIATELY retain an attorney.
Get a partner from a larger, NATIONAL firm. Don't let them pawn off junior partners or associates on you. They might try, all law firms might, but insist instead that your lead be a partner who has been with the firm for awhile. Do NOT use your local attorney. Yes, I mean your long-standing family attorney who did your mother's will. Do not use the guy who fought your dry-cleaner bill. Do not use the guy you have trusted your entire life because of his long and faithful service to your family. In fact, do not use any firm that has any connection to family or friends or community. TRUST me. This is bad. You want someone who has never heard of you, any of your friends, or any member of your family. Go the closest big city and walk into one of the national firms asking for one of the "Trust and Estates" partners you have previously looked up on http://www.martindale.com from one of the largest 50 firms in the United States which has an office near you. You can look up attorneys by practice area and firm on Martindale.
There's even more detailed, lengthy, and cautious advice here.
Good luck... whatever that means to you now.