Over a year later, my lawyer notified me that he accidentally overpayed me on my transaction. What is the proper thing to do?


I need your help. Sometime last year I concluded a property transaction and the final proceeds was transferred to me. Just recently, I requested the lawyer to resend me a copy of the remittance slip with the accompanied statement, as this was from a foreign country, so that I could check on the exchange rate and to verify the final figure (the former was misplaced). My lawyer came back with a newly generated statement (after 15 months) stating that they have overpaid me due to a wrong calculation at their end. Can you kindly advise me how I should handle this matter in a godly manner.


Turn this around the other way. If it turned out that the lawyer had not paid you enough, would you be asking for the rest of your money? "Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets" (Matthew 7:12).

Clearly something caused you to wonder if there was a mistake since you asked for the records. If, after you reviewed the figures, perhaps with the aid of an accountant if a large sum is involved, and it turns out that a mistake was actually made, then it would be proper to return the excess to the lawyer. People do make mistakes.

Thank you very much for your godly advice.

Strictly out of moral obligation and careful to do the right things before God, I would be very appreciative if you could increase my knowledge a little further.

Nothing really has caused me to wonder if there were mistakes made and the sum involved was negligible. I have always taken their word at face value. I was only curious to know the rate the remitting bank had applied and whether the final figures on the statement of accounts matches up with the remittance slip that resulted in this situation.

In my case, if the sum is negligible, I would just pretend it didn't take take place and forget about the whole thing. What do you think?

In such a case, you would be acting with grace -- generously not asking for what was owed. While that would be to your honor, it isn't necessarily what another may do. You cannot assume another's generosity for them.

Since it is a small amount and you assume that the lawyers are being truthful, then use that same generous spirit. You pay your debt and think no more about it. "Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law" (Romans 13:8). Yes, you could argue that it was their mistake and that too much time has past, but why bother if it maintains a good relationship? "If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away" (Matthew 5:40-42).

Thank you very much. You certainly have increased my knowledge and wisdom. May the grace of God and blessings be with you and the La Vista Church of Christ.