Settlement FAQs: The process!

WA State Requirements for Settlement Checks

What happens when my attorney receives my settlement check?

When your attorney receives a settlement check on your behalf, they are required to deposit the check into a trust account. This is a special account used to hold client funds separately from the attorney’s own funds, ensuring that your money is protected.

Is my attorney required to notify anyone about my settlement?

Yes, your attorney must notify all lienholders of the settlement. Lienholders are parties that have a legal right to a portion of your settlement funds due to debts or services related to your case, such as medical providers or creditors

What is a settlement statement, and why is it important?

A settlement statement is a document that details how the settlement funds will be distributed. It is important because it shows the amounts allocated to satisfy any liens and ensures that all parties with a legal claim to the funds are paid accordingly.

How does my attorney handle liens against my settlement?

Your attorney will include all valid liens in the settlement statement and ensure that these liens are paid out of the settlement funds. This is done to protect you from future legal actions for unpaid debts related to your case.

Can my attorney negotiate the amount of the liens?

Yes, attorneys often negotiate with lienholders to potentially reduce the amount of the liens. This can result in more of the settlement funds being available to you after all debts and legal claims are satisfied.

What if there is a dispute over a lien?

If there is a dispute over a lien, your attorney will hold the disputed funds in the trust account until the dispute is resolved. This ensures that the funds are distributed fairly and in accordance with legal requirements.

Are there any specific rules in Washington State regarding the disbursement of settlement funds?

Yes, Washington State has specific rules that attorneys must follow when disbursing settlement funds. These include promptly notifying and paying lienholders, avoiding the commingling of client funds with the attorney’s own funds, and maintaining detailed records of all transactions involving the trust account.

What happens after all liens and attorney fees are paid?

Once all liens and attorney fees are paid, your attorney will disburse the remaining settlement funds to you. This will be done in accordance with the settlement statement and after ensuring that all legal and ethical obligations have been met.

How long does my attorney have to keep records of the settlement transactions?

In Washington State, attorneys are required to maintain records of settlement transactions for at least seven years after the events they record. This includes all documentation related to the receipt, disbursement, and transfer of trust funds.

What should I do if I have more questions about my settlement and liens?

If you have any further questions about your settlement, liens, or the disbursement process, you should speak directly with your attorney. They can provide you with detailed information specific to your case and ensure that you understand each step of the process. I always encourage my clients to contact me directly with any questions.