Informal Opinion Number: 2020-17

Adoption Date: 2020

Rules: 4-1.15; 4-1.155
Client-Lawyer Relationship
Safekeeping Property
IOLTA Accounts
Subject: Trust Accounts and Safekeeping Property
Summary: funds of missing client

QUESTION: Attorney is holding in the trust account funds to distribute to Client, but Client cannot be located for distribution. What should Attorney do with Client’s funds?

ANSWER: Attorney should continue to make reasonable efforts to locate Client so the funds can be distributed. If the efforts are unsuccessful after a reasonable period of time, Attorney should hold the funds in an IOLTA or non-IOLTA trust account per Rules 4-1.15 and 4-1.155 and follow the requirements of Missouri’s Uniform Disposition of Unclaimed Property Act. Formal Opinion 118; Informal Opinion 20000129.

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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