What should the $2.04 billion Powerball winner do next?

What should the $2.04 billion Powerball winner do next?

image source - getty images

While the United States anxiously awaits for the winner of the largest Powerball jackpot in history to come forward, legal experts are advising the exact opposite.

image source - getty images

After the winning lottery ticket was drawn Monday night, earning one lucky player an astounding $2.04 billion, many people speculated what they would do with that kind of money.

image source - getty images

Kurt Panouses, a tax attorney, says the first thing they should do is lawyer up.

image source - getty images

He's represented dozens of lottery winners in the past, including some who have won up to half a billion dollars.

image source - getty images

"Bring in someone that some experience with these types of wins," he said. "That way you have a proven quarterback, per se."

image source - getty images

They have a year to come forward to claim their prize, meaning that they could - and should - take their time before doing so.

image source - getty images

"I would never tell someone to say, 'I'm gonna fill out that individual claim form,' and say, 'I'm gonna go claim it next week.' That would be the worst thing they could do," Panouses said.

image source - getty images

California Lottery suggests the same as Panouses, outlining the steps a winner should take in their Winner's Handbook.

image source - getty images

Other steps include taking pictures with the ticket - including a number of selfies - and hiring a financial advisor to assist with the sudden influx of money.

image source - getty images

Once the winner gets everything situated and signs the winning ticket, the California Lottery vetting process gets underway. An intense process that could take considerable time.

image source - getty images

"We have a huge team of investigators that ask a lot of questions," said CA Lottery spokeswoman Carolyn Becker.

image source - getty images

"They take several weeks, something months depending on the circumstances. It's gonna be a while before we know who this winner is."

image source - getty images

While the lottery is required to publicly announce the winner's first and last name, Panouses says there are ways to work with the lottery to protect someone's identity.

image source - getty images

"You can work with the lottery officials, many times, to protect someone's safety," he said.

image source - getty images

"As long as they comply with their regulations, there's some ways to kind of, I don't want to say expand the rules, but play within the rules."

image source - getty images