While your loved one is being held hostage, you might find yourself overseeing their finances. This guide will give you an idea of what to consider as you are working through their finances.
It will help have an organized list of everything related to your loved one’s finances either in a notebook or in a protected document on your computer.
Hostage US and our financial advisory partners are ready to help you navigate each piece.
You will want to ensure your loved one’s employer keeps you updated on salary payments. If appropriate, ask that you be informed of any changes to their salary payments. It is against federal law to discuss someone else’s salary, but you might have a relationship with the employer that allows for this information to be shared.
Your loved one might have several bank accounts that you can monitor when they are being held to ensure the accounts are in good standing and no issues arise.
Your loved one could have various credit cards with outstanding balances. You may consider reaching out to the credit card companies to ensure your loved ones’ accounts are not being drained automatically and ensure the payments do not interfere with their credit rating. Hostage US can work with you to speak to the credit card companies.
Check if your loved one has recurring bills, including subscriptions, utility bills, rent payments, or any other bill that might continue to be charged while they are being held hostage. You might consider stopping these bills or pausing them until your loved one comes home. You can work with the organization associated with the account, and Hostage US can help navigate challenges.
Check if your loved one has any outstanding payments such as loan payments, mortgage payments, or other monthly payments that they manually pay via transfer or check. You might consider reaching out to these parties to notify them that your loved one is being held hostage and is unable to pay.
Tax filings and notifying the IRS
You will want to make sure the IRS has been notified of your loved one’s captivity to the extent possible. This continues to be a challenging area for family members. Your loved one can incur significant fines for failing to file their taxes by the due date. Avoid issues down the line and work with the FBI, State Department, and Hostage US to notify the IRS as possible.
You might have access to your loved one’s retirement accounts or consider using money from your retirement account to help pay for things that arise from the hostage-taking. There are usually significant fines for withdrawing money from your retirement account early, so be sure to review the penalties and try to work with the organizations to avoid excessive penalties.
You might consider notifying the landlord of a property that your loved one rents and discuss with them the options for rent payments. Hostage US can join these calls or offer a letter on your behalf. You might also use a letter from the US Government in these discussions.
Power of Attorney
Your loved one might have a Power of Attorney in place that names someone who can manage their accounts and assets for them. Check to see if your loved one has this in place. If there is no Power of Attorney, in some circumstances, Hostage US can help locate legal help to navigate Power of Attorney issues, but this is a lengthy process that can take over a year to complete.
Your loved one might be covered by workers’ compensation insurance or have a kidnap and ransom insurance policy that could help pay for various expenses throughout the captivity. Hostage US can help give you the right questions to ask employers to determine if your loved one has insurance coverage.
Hostage US and our partners can work with you to find solutions to the various financial challenges arising from a kidnapping. You do not have to go through this alone – we are here to support you.