What recourse do I have ifa retainer thatI paid a now deceased attorneyis caught up in a lawsuit?

UPDATED: Oct 8, 2010

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What recourse do I have ifa retainer thatI paid a now deceased attorneyis caught up in a lawsuit?

I paid a lawyer a retainer for an extended period of time. He accepted this money, but knew his health was poor. Before he died, he paid another lawyer to take his cases. The family of the dead lawyer is suing the living lawyer and my retainer is now frozen in this lawsuit. I now have no lawyer and no money to hire a new one. What should I do?

Asked on October 8, 2010 under Family Law, West Virginia


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

You certainly are in a predicament but there may be a way around things.  States have accounts that are set up to fund a fund that provides money to clients that have been in some way duped by attorneys.  Wet Virginia has one as well. They are known as IOLA or IOLTA accounts.  The interest on these accounts funds the funds.  Here is the contact in West Virginia through the Bar Association.  I would contact them in any event to see what help they can give to you in this matter.  Otherwise, you need to preserve your rights and file a claim against the estate of the dead attorney to be safe.  Good luck.

Thomas R. Tinder
Executive Director
West Virginia Bar Foundation
2008A Kanawha Blvd. East
Charleston WV 25311
Telephone: (304) 343-9823 

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