Unidentified Funds

Rule of Professional Conduct 1.15(i) address how Illinois lawyers should handle unidentified funds accumulated in their IOLTA accounts. The rule defines unidentified funds as “amounts accumulated in an IOLTA account that cannot be documented as belonging to a client, a third person, or the lawyer or law firm.” A lawyer who discovers unidentified funds must make periodic efforts over a period of 12 months to identify the owner and return the unidentified funds. If after 12 months the lawyer believes that continued efforts will not succeed, the unidentified funds are to be remitted to the Lawyers Trust Fund. The amended rule took effect July 1, 2015. Unidentified funds should be remitted to LTF by (1) submitting a completed Unidentified Funds Remittance Report (PDF) and (2) sending a check for the amount of the funds payable to the Lawyers Trust Fund of Illinois. Use of the reporting form is required in all cases. LTF cannot accept remittances made via ACH or wire transfer.

The handling of unidentified funds under Rule 1.15 was addressed in an ISBA Professional Conduct Advisory Opinion published in 2015.

Links

ISBA Quick Take Video regarding Unidentified Funds

Do you need assistance? Contact LTF if you have any questions about handling and remitting unidentified funds: Terri L. Smith-Ashford, Director of Banking & Operations: 312-938-3001 David Holtermann, Associate Director & General Counsel: 312-938-3076

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