If my case was settled out of court but I don’t sign the “Disbursement Release Letter” and return it, do my lawyers have the right to disburse the money in the trust to pay themselves?

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If my case was settled out of court but I don’t sign the “Disbursement Release Letter” and return it, do my lawyers have the right to disburse the money in the trust to pay themselves?

Settlement amount agreed upon and just rec’d my Disbursement Letter to Sign. Lawyer says the settlement amount is sitting in a Trust Fund. If I do not sign the Disbursement Release Letter and return it, Do they need me to sign and return the Disbursement Letter and then they will have access to their portion?

Asked on July 8, 2015 under Personal Injury, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

If you don't sign the letter, they can't automatically or without authorization take the money from the trust--but they can go to court and get a court order allowing them to do so. Assuming that the disbursement is pursuant to or in line with the settlement, a court will let them disburse the money and possibly impose a penalty on you (e.g. paying their legal fees to get the order) for not signing the disbursement letter when there was no good cause to not sign.


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