Q: Estate Representative. One beneficiary is in federal prison. What is DC Probate law for distribution of money?
A: Being in prison doesn’t disqualify someone from an inheritance unless they killed their benefactor.
A: The issue is not unique to probate law. How does a prisoner hold and manage their money and other assets? You need a bank or other financial institution that is willing to open an account for the prisoner and make the necessary arrangements to get signature cards signed and meet their other requirements, and the prisoner agrees to this arrangement. Another option is the prisoner grants someone his written power of attorney to receive and manage his funds for him, which will require him to execute a power of attorney naming someone he trusts. Alternatively, he can name someone to receive his distribution in the form of a check, “as trustee for [insert his name]” and that person becomes his appointed trustee for the funds—the check would then be taken to a bank which will open a custodial account in the name of the trustee for the prisoner, and the trustee will be bound by fiduciary laws to manage the funds solely for the prisoner’s benefit.
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