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What To Do With Your Piles Of Cash After Winning The Powerball

Before you make a mattress out of money, take these steps to protect your new fortune.

By Briana Altergott | January 11, 2016

Unless you've been living under a rock, you're probably aware the Powerball jackpot has ballooned to a whopping $1.4 billion, the largest lottery prize in world history.

And if you haven't gone out and snagged a ticket or two, maybe you should. An estimate made before the jackpot hit $800 million said it would need to be about $1.7 billion for the cost of a ticket to be worth it, so we're getting close. (Video via WPTV)

So let's say you do end up hitting all six of those lucky numbers. After you stop screaming, here are some smart steps you should take to ensure you make the most of all that money.

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First, figure out what your money goals are. A wealth management adviser at Northwestern Mutual suggests carefully considering what you need to save for before blowing your newfound cash.

After all, little Bobby's college tuition isn't going to pay for itself. (Video via University of Phoenix)

Next, lawyer up. A securities attorney who's represented several lottery winners in the past told USA Today you should assemble a team of lawyers, certified public accountants and financial advisers even before you claim that big prize.

These trusted people will help you navigate your tax liability, choose the right investments and avoid scams.

Once you've got your legal team together, it's time to decide whether you want your winnings in a lump sum or in installments over time. (Video via WCBS)

Zacks Investment Research points out you'll get much less money if you pick the lump sum, and you'll have to pay income taxes on the entire amount in the year paid. If you invest that sum wisely, you can make that money back.

But if your money-management skills aren't too great or if you're still young, you might consider taking the extended payouts to ensure a solid financial base for years to come.

And finally, after winning such a prize, it's OK to treat yourself a little! (Video via Sandals)

After all, you'll win over a billion dollars if you score this Powerball jackpot — a new car or an awesome vacation probably wouldn't hurt. (Video via Tesla Motors)

Now that you're all prepped for your big win, make sure you go out and get some tickets! The next drawing will take place Wednesday night.

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