As they planned how they would come forward, the Castellanos methodically added to their small circle of knowledge. They knew they needed help not just with handling their money, but in dealing with the media as well.
For help, the Castellanos turned to people trusted by family members. Their son-in-law, a chief financial officer, recommended legal and accounting firms. Carmen had a close friend in the television business, who recommended a media representative. Based on these intimate recommendations, the family cobbled together their expert team.
Others recommend that lotto winners quietly audition a number of professionals who can assist them with finances, legal issues and publicity. Ask for references and research them thoroughly. And always interview at least one professional with no connection to anyone you know [source: Jaffee].
The ins and outs of the tax code that governs lottery winnings are difficult for even pros to handle, let alone a lottery winner. However you assemble professional help, be sure to do it before coming forward. "I would certainly advise someone to do that so that you aren't caught unprepared," said Al. "Because even with all of the preparation we did, it was really quite overwhelming."