Here’s what to do if you win a major lottery jackpot

A stack of money in this stock photo. (,

What should you do if you find yourself holding the lucky ticket?

While these big paydays have spawned numerous rags-to-riches stories over the years, they have also spelled disaster for some. Not only do most winners have to deal with people coming out of the woodwork looking for a handout, but there have also been cases of bankruptcy, murder, robbery, drug abuse and various legal woes in the wake of big wins.

So, before you start picking out the gold finishings for your fleet of yachts or buying all your friends a set of matching mansions, here’s a list of nine tip on how to handle a mega windfall from people who know what they’re talking about.

1. Establish proof that it’s your ticket.

While signing the back of the ticket is one step a winner will want to take, Robert Pagliarini of Pacifica Wealth Advisors told TODAY it would be smart to take another step in case you ever need to prove it’s yours.

“I would take a selfie with it,” he said. “I would take a video of the ticket and me smiling.”

2. Keep it on the down low.

That selfie or video clip isn’t for bragging on social media. While no one would blame you for wanting to shout from the rooftops that you’re the latest member of the billionaire club, Pagliarini added, “You really want to keep this as private as possible.”

Or as Laura Adams, author of “Money Girl’s Smart Moves to Grow Rich,” told TODAY, “Other than a spouse or life partner, I wouldn’t tell anyone about your good fortune until after you’ve created a solid plan with the professionals. Well-meaning friends and family may not offer you the best financial advice.”

3. Hire a team of professionals to manage your money.

In fact, a man who won $20 million from a Quick Pick ticket in 2014 considers getting professional help his own top tip.

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