Informal Opinion Number: 960116

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Reference Note: Effective July 1, 2016, subdivision 4-1.15(f) of Rule 4 was repealed and a new subdivision 4-1.15(f) adopted in lieu thereof.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 is holding funds which a financial institution claims but which the client will apparently not authorize Attorney to disburse directly to the financial institution. Attorney was involved in making the arrangement with the financial institution under which the financial institution asserts its claim to the funds. What should Attorney do? ANSWER: Attorney should seek to obtain consent from Attorney´s client. Attorney should notify Attorney´s client that, if the client does not consent to full disbursement or if the client and the financial institution cannot come to some other agreement regarding disbursement, Attorney will file an interpleader action. Attorney should file the interpleader action within a reasonable period of time unless good faith efforts toward a resolution are in progress.

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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