LEO: Trust Account of Deceased Attorney as  LE Op. 697


Trust Account of Deceased Attorney as Satisfaction of

Nonrelated Claim.


May 10, 1985


It is permissible for the trust account of a deceased attorney to be

distributed to the estate of the attorney and disbursed according to law

to satisfy the attorney's nontrust obligations when:


1. A diligent good faith review of the account is made by the lawyer to

determine the ownership of the funds and such review assures that properly

identified property is paid over to the client or the client's estate.


2. Where such review has occurred and the ownership of the account cannot

be attributed to any client, the lawyer should maintain the funds in an

interest-bearing account for such additional time as the lawyer reasonably

concludes to be necessary to assure that no successful claim could be made

by an unidentified client for the account within any applicable statute of

limitations. [See LE Op. 548]


Committee Opinion May 10, 1985