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Lottery

Powerball: What to do if you win half a billion

By Nick Sortal

Sun Sentinel

12:01 PM EST, November 28, 2012

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First off, let's remind you once again: the odds of you winning the $550 million Powerball are one in 175 million.

But with about 300 million tickets sold since Saturday's miss, the odds of someone winning is at about 70 percent, according to one probability expert. (It's not 100 percent because there's no guarantee that every number is covered.)

So, what if you're the one holding that ticket. What do you do?

Here's what expert suggest:

1) Find a secure place for the ticket. This is where a safe deposit box comes in hand. The glove compartment on your car does not count.

2) Be prepared for the attention. Powerball's rules regarding the disclosure of winners mirror that of the state the ticket is sold in. In Florida, that means your name, age and hometown are public record. Whether you want to pose for a photo or not holding one of those big checks is optional.

3) Take your time going to Tallahassee to claim your loot. You have 180 days. Take what you need to get prepared.

4) Line up a team of experts. That means financial planners, lawyers, perhaps a friend to answer media inquiries by folks like me. But note that many winners have said the expected barrage of long-lost relatives hasn't been as bad as expected. So don't become overcome with dread.

5) If you're the single winner, repeat these words:

I WON HALF A BILLION! I WON HALF A BILLION!