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How long can a firm hold onto my settlement. It has been going on 2 week and they keep saying check hasnt cleared.

Buffalo, NY |

I signed over settlement check from inurance company over a week an half ago in their office. Now the lawyer is giving me different stories on where(out of state bank) and when (gve me two different dates) the check cleared. Today he is saying it has to remain in their escrow for a few more days to make sure there is now fraud. The office manager called and gave a diffent story saying its illegal to cut a check because the check was in a personal escrow account and hasnt cleared yet.
I am starting to get worried what/is there a time frame for disbursement and what recourse do I have.

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Attorney answers 1


You should know that the most serious charges against lawyers usually involve mishandling of escrow funds. Grievance committees make lawyers' lives miserable over even very small irregularities in escrow accounts. Major mishandling of escrow funds is a pretty sure way to get disbarred. One major infraction is writing an escrow check when the funds are not good. We won't even take our bank's word for it on the phone. We wait for written verification in our on-line banking statement before we release escrow funds and we always err on the side of caution. Out of state checks can take up to ten business days to clear, or so I am told by the person in my office who handles the banking. If it takes more than two weeks to get your check, that would be an appropriate time to insist on proof that the check has been deposited and a call to somebody at the bank to explain why your funds are not available.