Informal Opinion Number: 2020-23

Adoption Date: 2020

Rules: 4-1.145; 4-1.15
Client-Lawyer Relationship
Safekeeping Property
IOLTA Accounts
Subject: Trust Accounts and Safekeeping Property
Summary: approved financial institutions for holding trust accounts

QUESTION: How can a lawyer determine if a particular financial institution is an approved institution for holding trust accounts?

ANSWER: A lawyer must hold property of clients or third persons that is in the lawyer’s possession in a client trust account located in an “approved institution.” Rule 4-1.15(a)(2). Approved financial institutions must be deemed as both “eligible institutions” per Rule 4-1.145(a)(5) and “approved institutions” by the Advisory Committee of the Supreme Court of Missouri. Rule 4-1.145(a)(2); see Rule 4-1.15(h). The Advisory Committee is responsible for publishing a list of approved financial institutions for lawyer trust accounts. See Advisory Committee Regulation to Rule 4-1.15, paragraph (c). The list of approved institutions is available on the Legal Ethics Counsel website. 

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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