What Happens To Your Possessions When You Go To Jail?

Last Modified: January 12, 2022
January 12, 2022 | LionHeadSeo |

It’s tough to go to prison or be put to jail. The hassle and everything in between can shred significant amounts of time outside preparing for what will happen to your money, bills, possessions, and other concerns. However, even though you are inside the prison, your financial obligations won’t go away. On top of that, you still have bills that need to be paid. Imagine you’re inside the cell thinking about your bills.

In addition, you will no longer have access to your personal or joint bank account, making various financial obligations much more difficult. The government believes that they can seize assets too. Your best-case scenario is when you post bail and make arrangements for your finances before being convicted. If you were not able to post bail, someone has to do the duties.

What About My Outstanding Bills?

This is one of the essential things you need to put a lot of thought into before you are convicted. Even though you have a family member or a close friend to take care of your personal belongings, everyone has their bills to be paid while they are behind bars.

A prime example of that is monthly streaming subscriptions and pending credit card payments. Moreover, suppose your property is not in the care of any of your family members. In that case, you might lose that entirely if your account balance is depleted and low for the automatic withdrawals associated with paying rent, storage units, or mortgage.

If you have no recurring payments, any money you have in your bank accounts when you are in a prison sentence is still yours. However, they are problems that might arise since many banks will freeze your account if no activity occurs with six to twelve months. If your sentence is longer than this period, a minor recurring payment may be beneficial to prevent your account from becoming frozen.

As we mentioned earlier, the government may also freeze your accounts for extended periods and eventually seize the funds if they prove you financially benefitted from the crime.

Who Will Take Care Of My Businesses While I’m In Jail?

This is the reason why many lawyers recommend taking care of your property and financial situation before you end up incarcerated. This matter is extremely difficult to do if you are arrested and unable to post bail. But you may still be able to handle some of these matters by meeting your defense attorney before being convicted.

If you are sentenced to jail, a defense lawyer can ask the judge for a report date for custody. In turn, you can have a set amount of time to take care of all of this.

Also, while you are in prison, you need someone to handle your business. For most people, this means giving your business partner or a close friend your business assets.

How Do I Manage My Finances While In Prison?

Once you are in prison, you will no longer be able to manage your finances. Your options are to make arrangements for someone else to handle your financial obligations on your behalf. Some of these options include:

  • Giving Legal Authority to a Family Member or a Friend. Instead of transferring your money to another person, you could provide them with the authority to do such duties. This is safer since their control can be limited.
  • Temporarily Assign Assets to a Loved one. You can also transfer, not only money, your assets to a loved one or close friend. But, once you transfer your assets to these persons, they are not obligated to return those. So you better have to choose someone that you could trust your money and investments.
  • Put Your Assets Into a Trust and Give Power of Attorney to a Financial Professional. Putting all your assets in a trust is leaving the obligations to these trustees. The option is certainly worth considering, especially if you have a massive amount of assets.

It is also crucial to finding someone you can trust to regularly access your funds or pay your bills while you are in prison. Depending on your financial status, you can always choose the most reasonable option.

What Will Happen To My House?

Any kind of prison sentence does not exempt you from paying your lease or mortgage. Depending on whether you rent, you have your own or other property; you have two options:

  • Renting. If you are renting, it is human instinct to cut or end the lease immediately while in prison. You may not want to do this if you will be in jail for a month. But, if you will be incarcerated for a longer term, it would be best to pay the penalty to end your contract early, so you don’t have to continue paying rent.
  • Homeowner. This is a much-complicated situation since the question lies if you can afford to continue paying the mortgage while in prison because you don’t have income. A prison sentence means that you no longer have inward funds, but a house payment will mean that you still have to pay that. So, if you are not in an ideal financial position right now, you may think about leasing your place to someone else or contact your mortgage company to see if they could lower the payments while you are in prison.

What Will Happen To My Money In The Bank?

This situation solely depends on the charges on which you’ve been convicted. For most crimes, your money remains in your bank account. However, for other crimes, your bank account may be frozen. Even you stay in control of your money, some banks may freeze your account as a safety feature.

  • Frozen By the Government. If you have been convicted or charged with a crime where the government believes you financially benefitted, they may freeze your entire assets. This happens mostly if you’ve been convicted of selling drugs or insider trading. In some circumstance, the government also seize the funds.
  • Frozen By the Bank. Many banks freeze bank accounts that haven’t been used in a couple of months. This is a safety feature, but this also means that you don’t have access to your money until you contact the bank and tell the situation.

Can I Still Access My Funds While In Prison?

Unfortunately, you don’t have any access to your regular bank accounts while serving time. However, there is an option. That option is that you may have access to a prison account or prison trust set up by the state in order to make purchases from approved catalogs. You can designate someone whom you trust the most to do this. Rules for these accounts vary by state or prison, so you need to check with your prison to learn specific rules.

Things You Should Do Prior To Your Imprisonment

Suppose you have plans to open a bank account, do it before you are incarcerated because you will not be able to open a bank account while you are in prison, as all banks require a physical appearance for that. In addition, even you are sentenced to life imprisonment, you should still care for your finances in case something happens. You might be paroled or released; we don’t know. If you think prison is where you will live for the rest of your life, you may also want to create a will just in case something terrible happens.

Get Help From A Top California Criminal Defense Law Firm | Summit Defense

If you have questions about what happens to your stuff or belongings if you end up being incarcerated, don’t hesitate to contact our experienced defense attorney to know more information about how to manage your possessions and other stuff before going to prison or while in prison. At Summit Defense, you can discuss this information in detail during your free consultation with our defense attorneys. You can call us at 1 (866) 537-2584 to schedule appointments or fill out our online form here.

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