Life after a Powerball win: What to expect if you strike it rich

Powerball jackpot reaches $500 million
Raising her Power Ball ticket in the air Hortcina Martinez, who plays Powerball weekly, shouts in excitement in hopes of winning jackpot from a ticket purchased at Oscar's Food Mart #1 on Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2012, in Houston. Wednesday's Powerball jackpot was raised to $500 million from $425 million.
Mayra Beltran,AP Photo/Houston Chronicle

(CBS News) Lottery players around the country are hoping to strike it rich Wednesday. The biggest Powerball drawing in history now stands at half a billion dollars, the biggest Powerball prize ever -- and the second-largest lottery jackpot in history.

And that pot could get even sweeter by the time they pick the numbers.

With no Powerball winner since October 6, lottery officials estimate that 105,000 tickets are being sold every minute nationwide. And the more tickets people buy, the more that jackpot will go up.

Powerball at $500 million: What to do if you win

The odds of winning the jackpot are just one in 175,000,000.

But that isn't stopping players from trying their luck. From New York to Arizona, people stood in line Tuesday after the jackpot soared to $500 million.

The historic prize is part of a plan lottery officials put in place earlier this year, including doubling the ticket price to $2 in order to boost jackpots faster. By the time of the drawing, lottery officials estimate that Americans will have purchased more than $1 billion in Powerball tickets. There is a 60 percent chance the winning combinations will have been sold.

Asked if that means there will be a winner, Mary Newbauer, a lottery official told CBS News, "I don't know. We'll have to wait and see, but that's not really a high number when it comes to drawings like this."

Mary and Brian Lohse know what it's like to hit it big. The couple won $202 million in Powerball just two months ago.

Mary Lohse said they didn't think they could actually win. Brian Lohse added, "The fact that it was a single winner I think was -- it even makes it more astounding and mind-boggling for us."

It's mind-boggling because Mary Lohse only bought that ticket as an afterthought at a local gas station one day. Before that, she and her husband were just trying to make ends meet for their three children.

Brian Lohse said, "We've faced the foreclosure. We've gotten the letter about them picking up the car and, frankly, right before we won the lottery."

The couple immediately got a lawyer and financial advisers. Then something happened that they didn't expect -- they got dozens of letters from complete strangers asking for help. One letter they received said, "If you could make an individual donation via check for an amount of $500,000 that would be very generous."

The couple hasn't answered the letters, but they have shared their fortune with their community, planning to help the local high school build a new football stadium.

For now, the family is still just trying to get over the shock of going from middle-class to millionaires. Mary Lohse said, "I think we both, at some point in the middle of the night have woken up and going, 'Brian, did it really happen? And he says, 'Yes,' and then I go back to sleep."

And if you're wondering whether the Lohses still play the the lottery the answer also is yes. Since winning Powerball, they've purchased a ticket every week, including one for tonight.

If there is a single winner in tonight's drawing, that person could take a cash option of $327 million before taxes.

For Manuel Bojorquez's full report on Powerball and the Lohses' life after their win, watch the video above.

But if you do win the big prize, what should you do?

Watch CBS News legal analyst Jack Ford's advice on "CBS This Morning" in the video below.

You should get a team of financial advisers and lawyers to help you manage your financial future, Ford advised on "CTM." He said, "At this point, guys, can you afford to bring in some people who can provide you with some good advice. Just because somebody says, 'My next door neighbor's brother-in-law is a lawyer you should talk to him.' Make sure you find yourself a good lawyer, good financial analyst and take their advice very early on."

Also, wait to claim your money, according to Ford. "It's a good idea," he said. "You got to do a couple of things. First thing do you is sign the ticket. ... The reason is it's the ticket that's the winner. You want to make sure that there's no question. There's a lot of people that would love to get their hands on that ticket. Sign it, put it in a safe place. The safe place is not a shoe box in your closet. Get to your local bank. ...Take some time to settle in, get your team in place, make sure you know what's going on here, get the advice. You don't have to run out and tell everybody because what you'll get, everybody in the world will be after you saying, 'Hey why don't you share some of your wealth with us?' Take some time and get things sorted out with the team."