How Can You Make Sure Your Bills Are Paid in Prison?
Your bills don’t stop coming just because you are in prison. If you don’t prepare, you might leave incarceration with massive debt. But there are ways that you can make sure your bills are paid while you’re in prison.
Do you still need to make payments on your debts while you’re in prison?
For the most part, yes. Your debts do not go away because you are in prison. Credit card debt, mortgage payments, student loans and other bills will continue to come in.
However, you may be able to reduce or pause payments on some of those debts. For example, you can usually adjust student loan payments in relation to your income. Since you likely won’t be earning much money in prison, you may be able to reduce those payments to zero. You will still keep your debt, but you won’t be penalized for missing payments.
You may also be able to get deferrals from other creditors. This means you will pause your payments until you leave prison. Not every company can offer this, but it doesn’t hurt to ask.
How can you make sure your bills will be paid while you’re in prison?
You can try to pay your bills yourself while you are in prison, but it is difficult. The speed of mail is not always reliable, and you likely won’t have open internet access to pay bills online. Therefore, a better option is to have someone else pay them for you. You’ll need to take a few steps to make that happen.
- Grant someone power of attorney. Power of attorney gives someone the right to sign documents and use your accounts. Find someone you trust. This person will have access to your funds and other private information. You’ll need to fill out some legal paperwork to do this.
- Open a joint bank account. A joint account gives both you and the person with power of attorney access to your money. That way you can still receive statements in the mail. You can also have immediate access to that money when you leave prison. Since you need to be there in person to open an account, this is something you must do before you go inside.
- Make a list of your bills. Make a list of all of your debts and other bills. This includes anything you pay regularly, such as insurance and cell phone bills. Be sure to include the date each month you need to pay them. And don’t forget about subscription services like Netflix or gym memberships. Go over this list with the person who has power of attorney for you.
- Change your mailing address. You probably want to keep a non-prison address for very important mailings. But you might also want to keep an eye on your accounts to make sure they’re being paid. Even if you trust the person with power of attorney, people can forget or make mistakes. Get your statements sent to your prison address and check them each month to make sure you aren’t missing any payments.
You still need to make sure your bills are paid when you are in prison. Some creditors may let you pause or reduce payments. A good way to take care of your bills is to get someone else to manage them for you. You’ll need to take a few steps to make sure this is done properly.
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