What can I do if I have a large inheritance from my uncle’s death but lawyer won’t give it to me?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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What can I do if I have a large inheritance from my uncle’s death but lawyer won’t give it to me?

Recently, my uncle died and I have inheritance in his Will. I have already signed everything, it’s all in my name now but lawyer will not give me my paperwork or keys of money. Can I call the cops on him to get it or is there any other choice in making him give it to me? I need it now and he keeps saying he’s going to meet me and never does.

Asked on April 24, 2018 under Estate Planning, Mississippi


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

No, you cannot call the police on him: the police will treat this as a "civil" or noncriminal dispute at this point and not intervene. What you do is you sue the attorney to get the inheritance from the lawyer: in the lawsuit, you can get a court order requiring him to turn it over to you, as well as compensation for any money or assets he has taken or lost. You could sue him for one or more of malpractice, conversion (a type of theft: keeping property which does not belong to you, but which was entrusted to you), and/or breach of fiduciary duty (the duty of fairness imposed by law on certain people, such as executors of wills), depending on the exact facts and circumstances. You are advised to retain an attorney to help you take action against this attorney: some of this potential claims or causes of action are not necessarily easy ones for a non-lawyer and, in any event, you will be a strong disadvantage if you, as a non-lawyer, go up against an attorney.
You can also file an ethics complaint with the state bar association against this attorney.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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