Southern Californians are scrambling to buy Powerball tickets as Wednesday's big drawing inches closer, with a jackpot now estimated at a mind-boggling $1.5 billion dollars.
The promise of striking it rich has millions of Americans choosing to go in on tickets together in groups of friends or office pools, even with odds of about one in 292 million.
But a joint purchase carries risks that could tie up any winnings for years.
If you chipped into a Powerball ticket pool, or are considering that option now, be aware.
Previous groups of lotto winners have seen their feelings of victory evolve into anger and disputes that ended up in court for years when one buyer claimed there was never a pool, or someone who didn't pitch in money feels they should still have been included.
To avoid that nightmare, legal experts suggest these tips:
- Appoint a leader who will be in charge of the pool and will be responsible for buying the tickets.
- Probably most important, create a contract that spells out details such as exactly who's playing and how you'll take the winnings if you hit the jackpot. Everyone should sign it.
- Distribute copies of the lottery tickets and contract to each and every player.
Another helpful hint: you can go online and search for a sample contract to sign. Just be sure every player signs and gets a copy, so you don't wind up sitting in court instead of on a beach somewhere in the Caribbean.