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Before making a payment on a settlement plan, should the settlement agreement be signed by both parties first?

Los Angeles, CA |

I have been set up on a settlement plan making monthly payments with an initial down payment . I will be signing the agreement very soon and the payment is also due soon . Should I wait until the other party also signs the agreement before I remit payment ? Thank you in advance

Attorney Answers 3

Posted

Yes. You should have an executed agreement detailing everything you discussed re payment plan BEFORE making any payments. And stick to it to the letter. Otherwise, everything will be exactly as it was before the agreement, interest penalties, etc.

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Asker

Posted

Thank you. What are the possible dangers though, if any, if I send the initial payment without the other party signing it? Can their attorney sign on their behalf?

Sandra Maria Nutt

Sandra Maria Nutt

Posted

Yes their attorney can sign on their behalf. The danger is they'll keep the money and not honor the new agreement. Not likely. As an attorney I don't get signatures. We sign it on our end and it's on the letterhead of the Attorney Office or the Collection Agency. That's their "signature" as they have drafted the agreement on their letterhead. You can usually pay electronically, I always have that option so you should be able to sign, fax and pay all on the same day. Just be diligent. Best of luck.

Asker

Posted

Thank you, would it just be practicing due-diligence if I say I'd like to have a fully executed agreement and request they have the attorney's signature or plaintiff's signature on it before I submit payment? I don't want to appear overly demanding.

Sandra Maria Nutt

Sandra Maria Nutt

Posted

I don't think that's overly demanding at all. You're simply protecting yourself just as they protect themselves.

Asker

Posted

Thank you for your help

Sandra Maria Nutt

Sandra Maria Nutt

Posted

Absolutely. Best of luck. Just remain diligent and polite and stick with the plan.

Posted

Alert the other party that you are placing the payment in escrow to be completed when the payment is complete. Have the money ready to go as soon as they sign it.

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Asker

Posted

Understood, thank you. What are the possible dangers though, if any, if I send the initial payment without the other party signing it? Can their attorney sign on their behalf?

William Asa Grafton

William Asa Grafton

Posted

Sorry, I should have said when the "settlement" is complete, not the payment. If the other party has authorized their attorney to deal on their behalf, he can sign the agreement, but he may choose to leave that to his client.

Posted

You should have a settlement agreement signed by all parties prior to making any payments. If the payment is due soon, contact the other party and tell them that you need the agreement signed and until it is signed the payment will not be made. A digital copy can be acceptable as an "original" signature which might help with the pending deadline.

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Asker

Posted

Thank you for the helpful answer