If you or your loved one is convicted of a crime, and there’s no bail posted or if you can’t afford bail even with the help of a bail bondsman, it can be an incredibly stressful experience. One of the most critical issues you need to take care of before it happens is that of financial preparedness. Jail time can complicate money matters, and it can make life more difficult for you if you don’t take the time to make financial arrangements beforehand. Here’s how you can ensure that you or your loved one’s money is taken care of if this happens.
Identify someone trustworthy to handle your finances
This person will be able to take over your financial situation while you serve time in jail, so make sure you choose someone trustworthy and dependable. If your loved one is the one heading to jail, you can be this person for them too. Having a dedicated financial point person on the outside ensures that once the jail term inevitably ends, there won’t be a larger amount of debt waiting to be paid.
Talk to an attorney
If you’ve been allowed to speak to your attorney, have them draft a document that states that you’re bestowing someone with your power of attorney. In the case of your loved one, they might be giving you their power of attorney. This allows a person to make decisions on behalf of the person who requested the document to be drafted. They will also be granted access to any savings or checking accounts.
Write down a list of financial concerns
Chances are, the only way you or your loved one will be able to communicate with anyone before you serve time is through a phone call or a scheduled face-to-face visit. Make the most of this time by writing down a comprehensive list of financial concerns that need to be addressed. This ensures that everyone is on the same page and that everything can be properly accounted for.
Let the right people know
Always make sure that trusted family members and friends are informed about the situation. They might need to prepare for certain things too, and this will help them get everything in order. They might also be able to help out in any way they can, such as covering for certain bills for the time being.
Creditors should also be informed that you or your loved one will have trouble making payments for a certain extent of time. There are times when creditors will be willing to work out a hardship program or reduced payment scheme to help their clients make payments. It doesn’t hurt to ask if this can be done for you or your loved one, as well.
Work out a reasonable budget
Even if you or your loved one weren’t the breadwinners in your respective families, financial situations are still likely to change because of these new circumstances. You must help your dependents or your loved ones’ dependents figure out a reasonable budget that allows for savings to be made.
Jail time can be incredibly scary, and there’s not much that can be done if the judge has made their final decision. What’s left for you or your loved one is to make financial arrangements to help make the process easier, especially when either of you is inevitably released.