Serving time in jail or prison will not excuse you from your financial obligations. However, often weeks, months or even years can pass from the time you are arrested to the time your case is closed. So what happens to your funds during this time?
If a judge determines you’re not a flight risk and you’re in a position financially to make bail, then you should have time to sort out your finances. If you are denied or unable to make bail, your credit and finances may suffer unless you make the appropriate arrangements.
What Happens to Your Money While in Prison?
Generally, nothing happens to your bank account if you are sent to prison; however there are some exceptions. If the government believes that you financially benefitted from your criminal activity, such as selling drugs or insider trading, they may freeze or even take your assets.
All banks are different, but most banks will put a hold on your account restricting any access to your funds if there is no banking activity for a certain amount of time. By updating your banking address to your jail or prison address and making small deposits periodically, you can avoid bank holds due to account dormancy.
Managing Your Finances from Prison
Basically, managing your finances while in jail means finding another you can trust to do it for you. One option is to temporarily assign your property to a loved one you can trust to manage your finances. The trouble here is that they would not be legally obligated to transfer your assets back to you, unless there was an independent contract that contemplated a retransfer.
You can also apply to give another party legal authority to allow another person access to your bank account(s). The benefit here is that you can limit that person’s access. So, for example, they can only make deposits or make payments and not withdraw funds. This can also be accomplished by setting up a joint bank account
Another option is putting your money in a trust account and giving power of attorney to a financial professional. It’s important to note that trustees are bound by fiduciary duties and are legally obligated to keep your best financial interest in mind when managing your money.
How Your Mortgage or Apartment is Affected
Like your other bills, your contractual obligation to make your mortgage or rent payments remains despite being sent to prison or jail. Assuming you have the time and money to do so, it would be wise to try to terminate an apartment lease and pay any penalties for early termination. Another option could be to sub-lease your apartment or assign your lease if allowed under the contract.
If you are a homeowner, your best option may be to lease your home for the period of time you will be in custody. If due to your incarceration you will not be able to make the mortgage payment, you can contact your lender and see if they can temporarily lower the monthly payment until you are released.
Where the Money Goes
Any money that you have in your accounts cannot be accessed while you are in prison. However, you can make purchases from approved catalogues and those who have access to your money on the outside can send money to a prison trust account set up by the state. However, each prison may have different rules and procedures for doing so, so it’s important to check the appropriate rules for your facility.
Call the Skilled Criminal Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich
If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime, you need to contact an experienced Wallin & Klarich criminal defense attorney immediately. Our skilled attorneys may be able to minimize the financial impact you may face if convicted. The sooner you are able to prepare and plan for what will happen to you and your family if convicted, the better.
At Wallin & Klarich, we have been successfully defending clients facing both state and federal charges for over 30 years. We will meet with you immediately to review the facts of your case and plan a defense strategy that will help you get the very best outcome possible.
With offices located in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Orange County, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich criminal defense attorney available to help you no matter where you work or live.
Call us today at (888) 280-6839 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.