How long can a Lawyer Hold your Money | Factors Holding Money Lawyer?


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Yes, you have a legal right to ask your lawyer how long he will hold your money on a settlement. Remember to check when you know that your case will be finally settled. Because after many years and months of legal processes and proceedings, you have a legal right to get paid. Especially if you have pending bills to pay. Let’s learn how long a lawyer can hold your money.

When you get the settlement, in the end, there are some things to consider for you and your lawyer require to do before the opponent party gives the money to your lawyer. If so, they must follow a few limitations before giving you the final balance when the check reaches your lawyer.

Therefore, keep reading the following material if you want to know how long a lawyer can hold your money.

How long can a Lawyer Hold your Money?

How long can a Lawyer Hold your Money

When you send a check to your lawyer, they will usually hold it in trust or escrow until the payment clears. This process takes around 5-7 days for larger settlement checks. Moreover, it can be slower if there are any delays with other banks involved on either side of transactions.

This passage provides information about how lawyers handle payments from clients who want their cases resolved quickly. All this, without having them sit waiting indefinitely. At the same time, funds accumulate unpaid because those situations typically take longer than normal case progress updates.

Factors on which Holding the Money with Lawyer Depends

How long can a Lawyer Hold your Money

Delay in the payment of money and holding the money with the lawyer depends on the details of your case or your settlement contract. It also depends on the actual time the process takes to be ready. Many settlements can take several months to resolve such matters, while many settlements finalize in six months. 

Following are some important reasons your lawyer can hold your money, and your settlement check can arrive later than expected. 

Release forms

The release form is the initial form you must sign to get your settlement back. The form is the legally binding document defining that you will not claim any further legal action against your opponent or defendant for your particular case. Most insurance companies and defendants will not agree to give you the settlement check unless you sign the release form. 

However, if you have any other lawsuits against the same defendants for different cases, you should not stop pursuing those claims. You should mention those claims you decide to release the insurance company or defendant from in the release form.

Normally your lawyer will go through the release form. The goal is to ensure that the terms and conditions are fair before you sign it. You should remember that you have to sign any release forms. That depends on the number of parties involved in the particular case.

If the defendant’s insurance company handles your case or claim, you have to sign two release forms, one for the insurance firm and the other for the defendant.

In a few cases, you can experience delays if you or your defendant disagrees with the release form’s terms, conditions, and provisions, as this process will need the redrafted release form.

Processing delays

Every state has changeable rules and regulations regarding the duration of time in which the defendant has to issue a settlement payment when you sign the release form.

Unluckily, some organizations will use this delay to process your settlement check as much as possible. For instance, the insurance company or defendant will utilize the full time as prescribed by law to proceed with the settlement check once they receive your release form. 

That means that if you reside in a state where 30 days are for the processing of the case. So, the insurance company or defendant will accept the release form in those 30 days. 

Check clearance

In the majority of cases, the defendant dispatches the check to your lawyer. When your lawyer receives the settlement check, they will hold it in the escrow account or the trust until it clears.

This procedure will take 5 to 7 days for the settlement checks with huge amounts. After the clearance of the check, the lawyer will deduct his amount of the share to cover the cost of the legal charges and the costs of their services.

They will also pay the liens and bills on your behalf from that amount. After your lawyer honors all the financial obligations and liabilities related to your case, they will send the check by mail or through wire transfer.

Paying bills and liens

In the case of personal injury, there are chances that you have to pay the outstanding medical bills and liens. When your case settles, you have to pay all the legal liabilities and obligations to pay these bills.

When your lawyer gets the settlement check from the defendant, they will pay the liens on your behalf and settlement for you.

If the government has a lien against your settlement, then t will be easy to settle the liens. If you have liens under a government-funded program like Medicare or Medicaid, the process will take months to resolve.

Your; lawyer can also use your settlement check to resolve the bills related to your lawsuit. The bills include private investigations, medical tests, expert witness testimony, and many more. These bills are fixed, but your lawyer can negotiate for all other services charges. 

Your lawyer does not have the right to release your settlement check until and unless they resolve the issue of liens and bills related to your case. So it will be better for you to be patient. Therefore, you don’t have to pay more than necessary.

Structured settlement 

In rare examples, a defendant has to pay the structured settlement. Unlike the regular settlements in which payment is in full amount, the defendant pays the settlement in installment with time in a structured settlement. These types of settlements happen when a minor is involved or in a case of catastrophic injury that needs extensive current medical care. 

In structured settlements, the insurance company or defendant sets the annuity for the victim, which is payable on a fixed schedule. If both defendant and you agree to the structured settlement, acquire the lawyer about the settlement payout. Agreeing on the structured settlement without careful revision may result in unexpected delays, financial complications, and risks.

The process to Speed up the Process of Delivery for Money

How long can a Lawyer Hold your Money

There are a few ways by adopting which you can easily speed up settlement check delivery. Once the settlement is going to close, you have to prepare the release form before time so that it should be ready once you access an agreement.

For the next step, you should contact the lawyer to calculate the liens and bills during the release form by the defendant. To avoid payment delays, one should quickly respond to the lawyer’s requests. 

If you find that you require the portion of your settlement check when it is pending, you can ask your lawyer to pay you the portion of the amount in advance. Your lawyer is not liable to pay the amount in advance, but he can do so as a kind act.

Settlement advance

If you need the money instantly, you can get the advance on the pending settlement. You have the option to apply for lawsuit loans from any financial institutions or Nova Legal funding.

A lawsuit loan is also referred to as the pre-settlement funding in the cash advance offered to a plaintiff in return for a part of their settlement.

This loan is not like the regular loan as it does not need a credit check, income proof, or verification. Instead, the financial institutions analyze the applicants according to the strength of their cases. It is important to mention that these loans are without any risks. This means that the applicant will not have to pay unless you win the case.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a lawyer keep your money?

Your lawyer is obligated to keep your money legally in an escrow account. He also cannot reach the funds without sending a formal bill to you. If your lawyer does not return your money within 30 days, you can take many steps to ensure that the lawyer will not cheat you.

Can a lawyer overcharge?

By rules, any lawyer is not liable to charge any additional or unreasonable amount for expenses. Legal professionals can overcharge for many types of expenses. 

Can you get a retainer back from a lawyer?

The lawyer cannot claim the retainer fee until the completion of the case and invoiced the client. After the payment of the lawyer fee, they should return the remaining retainer fee to the client. You have to pay the retainer fee every month until the case closes. 

How long does it take to get your money after the lawsuit settlement?

The whole lawsuit process can take years to complete, but it usually talks about six weeks to receive your payment after the lawsuit.

Can I ask for my retainer fee back?

A retainer fee is money paid to the client, often a lawyer, or a professional, for future services. Retainer fees do not need an outcome or final product, and part of the retainer fees can be refunded if the services are going to cost less than the original amount.


To conclude the article, how long can a lawyer hold your money? The above steps and reasons are the basis on which your lawyer can hold your money for a long time. Usually, your lawyer can hold your money for just enough time to ensure that the check is cleared and collected. Also, it is better to resolve and determine up to your satisfaction that all deductions of the costs and fees are correct.


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