Can a prisoner inherit a house and an insurance prodeeds while incarcerated?

UPDATED: Apr 6, 2012

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Can a prisoner inherit a house and an insurance prodeeds while incarcerated?

My son (age 43) is a prisoner. He’s my only direct heir. If I (age 63) die while he’s in prison can he still inherit my house? Market value is approximately $279,000 with a mortgage debt of $41,000. Also, I have an $50,000 insurance policy of which he is the named beneficiary.

Asked on April 6, 2012 under Estate Planning, Massachusetts


MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You will need to consult with an attorney who handles and has expertise with unique situations in estate planning. Here is the problem. While your son may inherit from you, you need to find out if there is restitution owed to victims or if your son owes money to the state in fines or to his defense counsel (especially if one was stated appointed). If the answer is yes to any of these, that money would automatically be taken to pay those debts. Further, if he takes usually subject to the loan, he would need to find a way to be a mortgagor (highly unlikely if he is incarcerated). This basically means that unless that house is paid for when you pass, he will most likely lose that home to foreclosure.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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