Informal Opinion Number: 960158
Reference Note: Effective July 1, 2016, subdivision 4-1.15(f) of Rule 4 was repealed and a new subdivision 4-1.15(f) adopted in lieu thereof.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 the trustee in bankruptcy for a law firm that has dissolved. The trust account of the law firm still contains a significant sum of money. The owners of the funds are unknown and no one has claimed them. What should Attorney do with these funds? ANSWER: The funds must be held in a trust account until they are claimed or they escheat to the state under the Missouri unclaimed property law. Formal Opinion 118 generally addresses this topic. Under these circumstances, the funds should be held in an IOLTA account until they are cliamed or escheat.
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.
To request an Informal Opinion, please visit: https://mo-legal-ethics.org/for lawyers/requesting-an-informal-advisory-opinion/.
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