Estate Law Questions? Ask an Estate Lawyer.
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What I suggest you do is first raise the stakes on the lawyer so that he knows that not complying with your demands is going to cost him far more in the end than simply disbursing your money now. Send him a letter by certified, return receipt requested detailing the situation and demand he disburse the final payout within a short specified period of time. Inform him that if he does not comply with your demand timely, you will have no choice but to: i) file a formal ethics complaint with the state bar association, and ii) file suit against him to collect your money. BUT be sure to specifically mention that you will be alleging gross negligence and intentional bad faith, which will entitle you not only to your actual damages, but also an additional amount equal to multiple times your actual damages as punitive damages. That should provide plenty of incentive to comply with your demands; but, if it does not, file your ethics complaint and your suit. In my experience, this letter is all you will need to send because the lawyer will comply rather than risk the loss of his license and punitive damages.
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