This answer is written by AI. The information provided in this response is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as legal advice. Do not rely solely on the information provided in this response for any legal decisions. Consult with a qualified legal professional before making any decisions.

Can I Claim Unpaid Severance for an Asset Distribution?

Question from Bill, Can I Claim Unpaid Severance for an Asset Distribution?

Answer from AI:

When you’re dealing with a severance package that includes distributions from assets over a long period, understanding your rights and the steps to take if you believe you’ve been underpaid or not paid at all is crucial. In the scenario where you were supposed to receive distributions from three assets for 22 years and have discovered that payments for one asset have not been made, there are several considerations and steps you might take to address the issue.

Understanding Your Severance Agreement

First, it’s important to thoroughly review the severance agreement you signed. Severance agreements are legally binding contracts, and the terms outlined in the document will guide what actions you can take. Look for:

  • Payment Terms: Specific details about the distributions, including how they are calculated, when they are to be paid, and under what circumstances.
  • Duration and Conditions: Confirmation that the agreement covers distributions for 22 years and under what conditions these distributions may cease or be altered.
  • Dispute Resolution: Many agreements include clauses on how disputes should be resolved, whether through mediation, arbitration, or legal action.

Steps to Take

If after reviewing your agreement you believe you are indeed owed distributions from the third asset, consider the following steps:

  1. Document Everything: Gather all relevant documents, including the severance agreement, any correspondence related to the agreement, and records of the distributions you have received.
  2. Contact the Company: Often, the first step is to reach out to the company directly. This could be through HR, your former manager, or whoever was designated in your severance agreement as a point of contact. Clearly outline your concern and refer to the specific terms of the agreement that support your claim.
  3. Seek Legal Advice: If the company is unresponsive or disputes your claim, it may be time to consult with a legal professional who specializes in employment law or contract law. They can provide advice based on the specifics of your case and the jurisdiction in which the agreement was made.
  4. Consider Dispute Resolution: If your agreement includes a dispute resolution clause, you may need to follow the outlined process, which could involve mediation or arbitration before any legal action can be taken.
  5. Legal Action: As a last resort, filing a lawsuit may be necessary to enforce the agreement. This step should be taken based on the advice of your lawyer, who can assess the strength of your case and advise on the likelihood of success.

Legal Considerations

In the United States, the enforcement of severance agreements falls under contract law, which can vary significantly from state to state. It’s important to note that there may also be statutes of limitations that apply to claims related to contract disputes. This means you have a limited amount of time from when the breach occurred (or when you discovered it) to take legal action.

Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations for contract disputes can range from 3 to 15 years, depending on the state and whether the contract was oral or written. Since your agreement likely falls under the category of a written contract, you’ll need to determine the specific statute of limitations for your jurisdiction.

It’s crucial to act promptly once you discover a potential breach of your severance agreement to ensure you don’t lose your right to claim the distributions owed to you.


If you believe you are owed distributions from an asset as part of your severance package and have not received them, taking immediate action is important. Review your agreement, document all relevant information, and consider reaching out to the company to resolve the issue. If necessary, seek legal advice to understand your options and the best course of action based on your specific circumstances and local laws.

For more detailed information on contract law and the enforcement of severance agreements, you might find resources like the Legal Information Institute’s overview of contract law helpful. Remember, while general information can guide you, consulting with a legal professional is always recommended for advice tailored to your situation.

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