Informal Opinion Number: 2020-16
Adoption Date: 2020
QUESTION: What action should Attorney take when Attorney has notice of an apparently valid lien against settlement funds in Attorney’s trust account and Client directs Attorney not to pay the lienholder from the settlement funds?
ANSWER: Attorney should promptly distribute any funds in which the interests are not in dispute; hold the disputed funds in trust; refrain from distributing the disputed funds until the dispute between Client and the lienholder is resolved; and, if necessary, file an action to have a court resolve the dispute. Rule 4-1.15(e) and Comment ; see Informal Opinions 970075 and 20000023.
Informal Opinions are ethics advisory opinions issued by the Office of Legal Ethics Counsel to members of the Bar about Rule 4 (Rules of Professional Conduct), Rule 5 (Complaints and Proceedings Thereon), and Rule 6 (Fees to Practice Law) pursuant to Missouri Supreme Court Rule 5.30(c). Written summaries of select Informal Opinions are published for informational purposes as determined by the Advisory Committee of the Supreme Court of Missouri pursuant to Rule 5.30(c). Informal opinion summaries are advisory in nature and are not binding. These opinions are published as an educational service and do not constitute legal advice.
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