Can a probate attorney withhold funds from a creditor until a signed “release to any and all future claims” against the Trust is provided?

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Can a probate attorney withhold funds from a creditor until a signed “release to any and all future claims” against the Trust is provided?

A family member is due monies following the closure of a probate case. The cashiers check has been written but the probate attorney will not release the check claiming my family member must sign the document he provided so that he can “legally close the case”. There is no mention in the court docs requiring this release be signed. In a phone conversation this attorney mentioned he will hold the check “hostage” until the release gets signed.

Asked on April 24, 2012 under Estate Planning, California

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Although the attorney did not use the correct terminology at all, signing a release of claims is generally used when money is distributed.  The attorney is protecting the trustee and the trust.  It is assumed that you negotiated this deal and that you are satisfied with it.  If that is not the case then check with an attorney if you have other options. Good luck.


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