When and how will our settlement money be released since our attorney passed away unexpectedly? He had no partners.

My husband and I settled our PI/med mal
claim. We were waiting for the money to be
sent to our attorney so he could disburse us
our portion. He passed away before his law
firm received our settlement. What happens

Asked on May 4, 2017 under Personal Injury, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

The easiest thing to do would be to hire a new attorney for the very specific purpose of receiving and distributing the check (and dealing with any adminstrative matters relating thereto): you can certainly legally "replace" a deceased lawyer. Negotiate a small fee for this service with the new lawyer, have him take care of the "substitution of attorney" paperwork, provide evidence you have a new lawyer to the other side, and they can distribute the check to him. You'll owe the new lawyer the small fee you negotiated, and will owe the deceased lawyer (e.g. his estate) for the work he did pursuant to whatever agreement you'd had.

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