Thinking realistically, your chances of winning the lottery are literally one in millions, but that doesn't stop thousands of people buying tickets and choosing their lucky numbers every week. While everyone could benefit from the financial security that a lottery win can provide, surprisingly few consider the long-term consequences of a lottery win, beyond immediate gratification.

One of the first things you should do when winning the lottery may be counter-intuitive, and that's to keep quiet about it - until you've actually received the money, anyway. You should carefully read and re-read the instructions on your lottery ticket or on the lottery website to find out how to claim your prize, and consider making a photocopy of the winning ticket before securing the original with your bank or a safety deposit.

You may also wish to seek legal advice to discuss your options in terms of dividing the winnings or setting up accounts to generate the greatest amount of interest on your funds. This is important, because - after your initial celebratory spending spree and investments - you may be able to live off the interest for the rest of your life. Speaking to a reputable financial advisor could also be extremely helpful for deciding where your winnings will be best spent - for example, if you plan to buy a new property or you're keen to get involved in investment or business.

While there are many fun things you can spend your money on, it's also worth considering how your money could help you and your loved ones out of bad situations. If you have any existing debts, you should pay these off as soon as possible, and it's generous to give at least some of your winnings to people who may benefit from them most - whether that's charities or your own family members and friends. It's also important to consider associated expenses when making any investment, which could make buying a fleet of sports cars or acres of real estate much more expensive in the long term than you originally thought.

Winning the lottery doesn't have to be a legal and financial headache though, and you should still make time to enjoy yourself with your winnings, taking the opportunity to do and see things you always desired, but weren't previous able to. Jetting off on a luxury holiday with your partner and staying in five star hotels can be perfect for getting away from it all and considering your next move.