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Protecting Your Recovery

As attorneys, we often find that, even if we are nice people, our letterhead scares some folks. Those folks receive a letter, or a lien, or a Summons and Complaint, from our office and immediately call their contact with our client because that contact is a “friendly” voice. Often, when facing a lien or a lawsuit, the debtor will make payment to our client rather than to our office. That is fine, but …

In the modern world, banking transactions move more quickly than they once did. Still, be aware that, before you cancel a lien or ask that a Complaint be dismissed, you want to make certain you have good funds. Cash remains king. A personal/business check on a local bank should be given at least three days to clear. A personal/business check on an out-of-state bank should be given at least 10-business days to clear. And, a bank check, which used to be as good as cash, now should be given at least 10-business days. As explained by our banker, those checks are the most likely to be fraudulent and the fraud can take several weeks to surface.

The moral of this story is “don’t over-promise” and box yourself in. Lawyers will rarely, if ever, tell you not to take the payment. Just do not promise that you will immediately cancel the lien or dismiss the legal action. Promise that “as soon as the funds clear,” you will ask your attorney to cancel and/or dismiss the lien or Complaint. Protect your recovery and your legal rights.

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