Informal Opinion Number: 960053

Rules: 1.15
Client-Lawyer Relationship
Safekeeping Property

Reference Note: Effective July 1, 2016, subdivision 4-1.15(f) of Rule 4 was repealed and a new subdivision 4-1.15(f) adopted in lieu thereof. This opinion is based on Rule 4-1.15 in effect prior to that date.

Reference Note:  Rule 4-1.15 was amended, effective July 1, 2013.  This opinion is based on the rule in effect prior to that date.  Please see the July 1, 2013 version of Rule 4-1.15.

QUESTION: Attorney represented a plaintiff in a personal injury case. The case was settled and the defendant agreed to pay court costs. Attorney has received a costs refund check and mailed it to Attorney´s client. The check has been returned with no forwarding address information. What should Attorney do with the refund? ANSWER: Attorney must make all reasonable efforts to locate Attorney´s client. If Attorney is unable to locate Attorney´s client, Attorney must deposit and maintain the funds in Attorney´s trust account. If the check is made out to Attorney´s client and Attorney does not have authority to endorse it, Attorney should notify the clerk´s office of the information after Attorney has made all reasonable efforts to locate Attorney´s client.

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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