Going to prison may be the last thing on your mind.
Yet the question remains, what would you do if you were suddenly incarcerated? Who would take care of your kids? Are your financials in order? Do you have an estate plan in place?
The reason it is vital for you to think about and answer these questions is because prison is a type of “incapacitation” for the sake of estate planning. After all, if you’re in prison, who will pay the mortgage, sign the child support checks, pay for nursing home care for your parents and handle your other responsibilities? Fortunately, by retaining an attorney, you can designate power of attorney to an individual who can then carry out these tasks on your behalf.
In the event that you are arrested, cannot pay your bail, and are convicted of a crime, you should have a power of attorney set up. Now, in a perfect world, you’ve already created your estate plan and you already named someone to be your power of attorney.
Let’s assume the world is less than perfect. So, what is power of attorney and how do designate a person to handle your affairs after you’ve been incarcerated?
Power of attorney is the authority you give to another person or institution (a bank for example) to look after your affairs if you should become disabled or incapacitated. Some of the advantages of a power of attorney include:
- You choose your agent — Rest assured, you, and not a judge, get to choose who you want to be your power of attorney. Keep in mind that it is important for you to choose someone you trust.
- Peace of mind — Designating a power of attorney can provide you and your family with peace of mind.
- Can save you time and money — By having a power of attorney in place, you can save time and money that would be spent on court proceedings.
If you have not named someone to be your power of attorney, but find yourself in prison, your attorney can pass you the POA documents that need to be signed — the Department of Corrections allow a prisoner’s attorney to pass him or her important documents.
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