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Remembering Those That Passed While In Prison This forum is for all those - family, friends, spouses, wives, husbands, significant others, brothers, sisters, parents, and children - who lost a loved one or friend while incarcerated.

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  #26  
Old 09-27-2014, 03:55 PM
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Glad you have the legal stuff worked out enough to know it's going to work for you instead of against you. Takes about a year for the dust to settle, but the dust does settle.

Glad you know where your father is, and that you're not having to fight or worry about that.

Here's to someplace sunny in 2015! Still thinking about you and wishing you peace, love, and strength.
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Old 10-01-2014, 07:08 PM
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I'm very sorry for your loss, Ginger.
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Old 10-02-2014, 06:47 AM
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I ditched my dad's useless estate attorney and brought my own estate attorney in to help me with settling the Trust. It's amazing how much stress that removed from the situation. My dad left small amounts to guys who are still inside, and she's going to help with that too, though it may turn out that my only choice is to continue to be involved with DOC for another 22 years (release date of one of the recipients who has no one on the outside to manage his affairs).
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Old 10-02-2014, 06:01 PM
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Ginger, you have a big heart.
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Old 10-02-2014, 09:29 PM
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Ginger, still thinking about you. I've just started the anniversary months for my dad, aunt, uncle, and grandmother. As such, I wish you nothing but peace, love, and strength.

And 22 years is peanuts when it's just a matter of making your father's financial wishes come to fruition. But pretty funny to have a legacy that would involve the DOC/BOP for years and years. Mr. Murphy and his silly Law.
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  #31  
Old 10-03-2014, 07:09 AM
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Thanks, Yourself.

I just realized, thinking about your post, that my dad's death was 3 years and 1 month to the day from his arrest. He was arrested 3 days before my mom's birthday and died 5 days before my husband's birthday. He died 2 months before his father's "deathday" and 2 months before hubby's father's "deathday". The August - November time frame is getting rather full. Next loved one who dies on me needs to pick some other time of year to spread this out a bit.

My atty wants to try to find a way to deal with the 22 year issue, but from what I understand, it shouldn't be a legal issue for me to take limited PoA for that inmate (VERY limited) and hold some H bonds for him until he gets out. Buy bonds, put in safe, wait a couple decades. But yes, I find it ironically amusing that with my dad's death, I thought I was going to be rid of DOC, only to find that I may have actually *increased* my sentence from 7 years left to 22 years left.
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Old 10-03-2014, 08:13 AM
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If your lawyer has the option of paying the inmates now, rather than when they are released, that might remove the DOC burden from you altogether.
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Old 10-03-2014, 08:21 AM
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Ginger, I've moved the thread to the Remembering Those That Passed While In Prison and made it a sticky.....I think its an important thread for those who have/may go through the same heart-breaking process with their incarcerated loved one.
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Old 10-04-2014, 06:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fbopnomore View Post
If your lawyer has the option of paying the inmates now, rather than when they are released, that might remove the DOC burden from you altogether.
It would remove it, and we may not have any choice but to go that way to prevent me from being charged with "intent to defraud a creditor" (hiding money from DOC). But my dad's intent, which is what I'm trying to carry out no matter how screwed up the language is that his atty used, was that these bequests were to be used as a nest egg to get them started when they were released. For one guy, he still owes court fees/fines, so if we put it in his account, DOC will take it all. I've got a contingency plan in place for that which involves using our own money to take care of it. While I promised my dad that I would do my damnedest to carry out his wishes, I never promised that I would set myself up for a lawsuit or criminal prosecution to settle his estate. Had his lawyer been better, the wording could have protected that money. But as all of us are aware, we can't change the past, we can only work with what we have available at the time. My dad wouldn't have wanted me to end up in prison for settling his estate.

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  #35  
Old 10-04-2014, 06:59 AM
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(mods, please feel free to split this off and sticky it instead of my other post if you feel it deserves its own thread)

I thought I'd offer a "walk-through" on what I've learned.

If your loved one dies:

1. Find the body. This is your very first priority. The longer you wait to claim it, the more likely it is that it will be "lost".

2. Find a mortuary. Since my dad died of cancer, I had done this in advance. Make sure the mortuary will work with whatever system your state/the feds use. It took me 3 calls before I found one that was willing to deal with DOC, only to find out later that...

3. DOC/FBoP may not be able to release the body to your mortuary of choice. In Oregon, DOC has a contract with one mortuary, and is only allowed to release the body to that mortuary. Your mortuary will then have to pick it up from their mortuary.

The mortuary is required to inform social security of the passing of your loved one. The mortuary is also the only place that you can obtain death certificates. Get double as many as you think you're going to need. I got double and am already wondering if I'm going to run out.

4. GET AN ESTATE LAWYER. No matter how "simple" you think the estate is going to be, you really really want someone who knows what they're doing to make sure it's being done properly, or you could be sued later. You personally, not the estate. Or you could have criminal charges pressed against you. Each state is different, so making sure you're doing it right is critical if you don't want it to bite you on the butt later on.

The estate lawyer's job is not to represent the estate. Nor is it to represent the wishes of the deceased. The estate lawyer's job is to represent YOU and keep YOU from getting yourself into legal trouble when you do disburse things.

5. GET AN ACCOUNTANT. Make sure the accountant is a CPA. Shop around, more expensive does not necessarily mean more competent (same holds for attorneys). The accountant will be familiar with your states tax laws. The estate must file a tax return and must show that it is not large enough to be taxed or must pay taxes. This is not something you want to try to tackle on your own unless you happen to be a CPA.

6. DON'T TOUCH ANYTHING! If your loved one has bank accounts, savings bonds, gold as an investment, collectibles that have any reasonable value, stocks/bonds or other investment instruments, do not use or distribute any of them until the lawyer and accountant tell you it's okay. You can have charges filed against you for "failure to uphold your fiduciary duty".

If you have a joint account, you have to decide whether it's a true joint account that now belongs to you personally (e.g. husband/wife where the joint account pays for the outmates household expenses) or whether it really belongs to the estate (e.g. my dad and I were joint on his account, but only so that I could manage his affairs while he was in). You need to let your attorney know which is the case, and you need to not tell the bank anything until your attorney gives you clearance to do so.

7. You will probably need to get an TIN (taxypayer identification number) for the estate. Your lawyer or accountant can do this for you, but it's cheaper if you just do it yourself. You can get one pretty much instantly on the IRS's website.

8. Start chasing paperwork. This should be guided by your attorney, but most estate lawyers are unfamiliar with what it means to be imprisoned. Call the phone service of your loved one, tell them that you are representing an estate and that it's your legal obligation to return all funds to the estate. They *should* issue you a check, even though they would normally not do so (TelMate is issuing me a check rather than their typical prepaid phone card). Also contact the prison's financial department - find out if your loved one owed them any money and also ask about getting them to release the funds to your estate.

For now, this is what I've learned. I've also learned that things I thought were quite simple are legally complex. I do not begrudge my attorney one dime of what she's earning.
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  #36  
Old 10-16-2014, 05:15 AM
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Get twice as many death certificates as you think you'll need. You'll definitely need one for each financial institution that your loved one was using, as well as one for the financial institution where you plan on setting up the estate's checking account. One for DOC/FBop. One for the accountant and one for the attorney. If you're going to have to sell property, you'll need one for each parcel of property to be sold. Same with selling or retitling vehicles, one per each vehicle.

I figured I'd need 10 or so. I've already sent 12. Getting extra copies after the initial bunch is not trivial. Better to have too many than not enough.
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Old 10-22-2014, 08:49 PM
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Another thing to think about: all online accounts should be closed to prevent identity theft. So if your loved one had an Amazon account, or eBay account or online bank access - anything like that where credit card information, billing addresses etc would be stored. It may not be possible to track them all down, depending on how much internet use your loved one had, but try to get as many of those accounts closed as possible. Amazon will require a copy of the death certificate... see post above this one.
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Old 10-24-2014, 05:42 AM
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Another thing that will be useful: if your loved on had a still open email address that you know of, use the "lost my password" feature and gain access to their email. A lot of times, you will find out about online accounts by reading their email, and it allows you to pass the word along to those who are trying to contact your loved one.

The "lost my password" feature also works well for pretty much any online account. I can't count how many times I've had to use it to gain access to an account to shut it down.
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  #39  
Old 10-26-2014, 08:31 PM
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Information that may or may not be useful:

It is considered a conflict of interest for the person settling an estate (executor/Trustee or whatever name that person is called by) to hold power of attorney for a person listed as a beneficiary of the estate.

So I can't get power of attorney for the inmate who doesn't have someone with PoA until after my dad's estate has fully settled, and the estate has been "closed".
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Old 04-27-2016, 04:02 PM
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Roughly 1.5 years later:

All of the above still holds true, particularly the "get a good attorney" and "get a good accountant" part. Dad's estate is still not settled.

We did find a work-around for the inmates. Some of them had PoA and some didn't. We used legal mail to send them a multiple choice letter, which they had to sign and send back to my attorney. It gave them the option of sending the check to them via DOC or to a third party who has PoA for them.

As a side note: many banks won't deposit checks if they know the account is being held for an inmate. That made things more difficult, as two of "the guys' " PoA people had to go re-open accounts and checks had to be rewritten and more documentation had to be created.

This far into settling the estate, the only other piece of advice I can offer is to get yourself a good scanner. There is much paperwork to be emailed to various people.

Grieving is not an overnight process. I'm expecting another 1 - 1.5 years of this before I can close out his estate. Perhaps when that is done, I may be able to move further through the grieving process.
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Old 09-20-2016, 06:14 AM
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As of this date, the estate is still not settled. Dad had some old paper E bonds that need a title transfer and Dept. of Treasury is taking their time at it. I think it's been 4 months now.

I wanted to make sure the information in here is reasonably accurate.

One item of note that differs from above:

I did not buy H bonds for the inmate who had no one on the outside to handle his affairs.

I do not have PoA for this inmate. But he trusted me enough to ask me to invest it for him even without PoA or any kind of legal agreement. So he "gifted" me back the money, and I bought an I-bond in my name.

Turns out that it is pretty much impossible for inmates to have bonds in their names, as buying the bonds involves having to have a few key identifiers that inmates are lacking. So I had no option but to put the bond in my name. The goal in buying the I bond was to preserve the principal of the bequest so that when he gets out, the money hasn't lost value.

At the rate things are going, I will spend more time settling his estate than he spent in prison.
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  #42  
Old 09-20-2016, 07:07 PM
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>the only other piece of advice I can offer is to get yourself a good scanner

The Fujitsu ScanSnap is the one I got recommended to me in a similar situation. Turning paper into a searchable PDF on DropBox makes work easier.
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Old 10-01-2016, 04:22 PM
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Quote:
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>the only other piece of advice I can offer is to get yourself a good scanner

The Fujitsu ScanSnap is the one I got recommended to me in a similar situation. Turning paper into a searchable PDF on DropBox makes work easier.
And drop box. My husband already has a prepaid cremation and so do I.
I am hoping and praying he gets to come home before this happens and I do have to admit at our age it has crossed my mind. One of my friends in CA said they sent her a paper before death, that she had to sign that she would be responsible for the body. What a horrible thing for a loved one to have to do. They have time to do this, but not provide health treatment? I read this and it broke my heart.

As far as the online accounts many do not know that my husband is incarcerated. Why tell them? Its a joint account? if I manage all the bill paying etc. from that account. To close them I think would be a mistake.

Social Security knew right away and they stopped his. I now pay for medicare. Does anyone know what info is linked to the drivers license?
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Old 10-01-2016, 09:50 PM
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I'm not sure how California does it, but in Oregon, DMV is notified by the Medical Examiner's office when someone dies (to prevent identity theft). I never did anything with my Dad's drivers license. I still have it with several other pieces of ID (and had to use it after his death because one of the entities I had to deal with - don't remember which one now - needed photo ID for him!).

If you're referring to his driver's license and he's living, the license will expire on its expiration date. You'd have to call DMV (or MVD or whatever california calls it) and ask if it can be renewed while he's incarcerated. Oregon allows it to be renewed once if the person is incarcerated. Then the license is suspended, but not expired (he couldn't use it, but it was waiting for him to renew it). Unfortunately, my Dad didn't live long enough for me to need to renew his license.

Since Oregon is also a "Motor-voter" state, DMV also closed his voter's registration upon notification of his death. If you live in a state where voter registration is not part of the driver's license, then you'll want to contact your county clerk or whatever gov't department is in charge of voter registration and make sure to report him as deceased so that no one can steal his identity that way. A lot of people forget about voter registration, and it is one of many ways that unscrupulous people can commit identity fraud and make your life hell when trying to settle the estate.
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Old 10-02-2016, 04:38 AM
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I am so sorry for your loss. My prayers are for you and your family
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Old 10-02-2016, 06:55 AM
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Thank you Judiwoo. My father passed away 2 years ago. Most of the initial shock and grief has ebbed now, though his estate is still being settled.
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Old 11-26-2016, 03:40 PM
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I too am sorry for your loss. I am surprised and pleased that your father had hospice services. Where I live - hospice is not provided to prisoners. I think everyone, especially inmates deserve comfort measures and the ability to die with dignity. I'm sorry you have to deal with the DOC. However, your dad no longer has to deal with them. (((((Hugs))))))
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Old 03-16-2017, 06:29 AM
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Thought I'd post a quick update so others who follow in my footsteps have some idea of how long the process can take.

Coming up on 3 years after my Dad died. The tangible property has been disbursed to those named in his Trust.

The fiduciary/money assets didn't finish disbursing until November, 2016. Last estate tax return was filed Dec, 2016. IRS returned the whole thing because they wanted more documentation that I was the legal representative of the estate. So yesterday I got to sign the same return all over again and include yet more copies of the Will and other legal documents and send the whole thing back to them. At this rate, I will have spent more time settling his estate than he spent inside.

Do not expect that settling the estate will be fast or simple. Do definitely get yourself an estate attorney and an accountant. Even if the estate is small and you don't think there's any possible way that it could be a problem, talk to an attorney. It may only take 15 minutes, but the information they give will prevent problems down the road.
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