IOLTA for Financial Institution Guidelines

iolta account

Interest earned on the account is transferred to a fund supporting legal aid for the poor and public service programs. a trust account benefiting the South Carolina Bar Foundation established in an eligible institution for the deposit of pooled nominal or short-term funds of clients or third persons. Well over $17.5 million has been provided for charitable services such as those listed, and we thank you for your part in making these vital services possible. To place client or third party funds that are nominal in amount or to be held for a short period of time in an interest-bearing pooled trust account with the interest going to the Oklahoma Bar Foundation (“OBF”) IOLTA Program, termed an IOLTA trust account.

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What is IOLTA?

When submitting annual license fees and required disclosures to the State Bar of Nevada, all attorneys must also verify and report that their current IOLTA trust accounts are compliant with Supreme Court Rule 217. This means IOLTA trust funds must be in a participating financial institution. IOLTA account.’ means an interest- or divi- dend-bearing account established by a lawyer or law firm for clients’ funds at an eligible institution from which funds may be withdrawn upon request by the depositor without delay.

The rules provide that the interest on the pooled trust accounts paid to the IOLTA program is “net of any transaction costs.” (Rules of Professional Conduct 1.15). Thus, any transaction costs the financial institution may impose for maintaining the account would be deducted by the institution from the interest that was paid over to the IOLTA program. Transaction costs do not include the cost of printing checks or NSF charges. The Minnesota IOLTA Program urges attorneys to familiarize themselves with service charges applied by the financial institution to IOLTA accounts. With the inception of IOLTA, lawyers who handle nominal or short-term client funds that cannot earn net interest for the client place these funds in pooled, interest-bearing accounts, and the interest earned on these accounts is remitted to the state IOLTA program for charitable purposes.

For the Public

No lawyer shall be charged with ethical impropriety based on the exercise of good faith judgment. The State Bar of Nevada is a public corporation that operates under the supervision of the Nevada Supreme Court. The state bar regulates attorneys in Nevada and provides education and development programs for the legal profession and the public. Each time you open a trust account, you must complete an Attorney Enrollment Form. Share a copy with your financial institution, send a copy to and keep a copy for your records. When naming your account, the account title should list your firm name with a subtitle of IOLTA account, trust account or client funds account. Lawyers who handle money for their clients must participate in the Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts Program, by depositing these funds into an IOLTA bank account at aneligible institution.

Here’s what Doris’ individual ledger would look like after the transaction we mentioned above. Is the second type of trust account, which may or may not be interest-bearing. For most attorneys, it is a non-IOLTA trust account used for an individual client with a large balance held, such as payments for personal injury. If the account accumulates interest, the interest will be transferred to the customer. Whatever it is called, we need to make sure with the bank that the fee cannot be charged to that account. A separate operating account or credit card has to pay all fees so that the customer’s money is never touched.


Each person should consult his or her own attorney, business advisor, or tax advisor with respect to matters referenced in this post. Bench assumes no liability for actions taken in reliance upon the information contained herein. Regardless of which state you’re in, you can’t, under any circumstances, use an IOLTA account as a savings account or an operating account, even if the money you withdraw from the IOLTA has already been earned. Regardless of how your law firm does its accounting, the system that you use to keep track of an IOLTA account must conform to the principles of double-entry accounting. While each IOLTA program follows similar guidelines, rules do vary by state.

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