A Milwaukee attorney and another  law firm represented the family of a couple innocently killed in a horrific DUI accident.  After reaching a settlement with one insurance company for $250,000, the attorney committed suicide.   The executor of his estate found the $250,000 check payable to the attorney and the other firm and sent it to other firm for safekeeping. The other firm cashed the check but then refused to give the deceased attorney’s share of the attorney fees to his estate alleging he breached the fee sharing agreement by committing suicide.

Several points:

1.  Checks payable to someone who subsequently dies are part of the probate estate.

2.  I am not sure how the law firm was able to cash a check payable to two parties.

3.  The legal fee in this matter was clearly earned when the settlement was received so the law firm’s theory for non-payment has no grounds.

4.  With business partners like the law firm, I can see why the attorney thought the world was bleak.