Trust Account Regulation FAQs

General

Why do these regulations matter?

What is trust money?

What is trust property?

Do I have to deposit all trust money or trust property I receive into a trust account?

What are my responsibilities with respect to trust accounts?

Are there any special requirements for opening a trust account?

Who can be a signatory on trust account?

Can an articled clerk be a signatory?

What are the consequences if an employee misappropriates trust funds?

Receipts/deposits

Does all money I receive need to be deposited into a trust account?

When should money received in trust be deposited?

Is confirmation of the deposit required?

What does “without delay” mean?

I use online banking. How can I meet the requirements of Regulation 10.2.5?

Does an escrow have to be deposited into a trust account?

Can I deposit my own money into a trust account?

Can payment for legal services already provided be deposited into a trust account?

How should my client pay for legal services already provided?

My bank charges me for receiving money into more than one bank account. May I receive fee payments and trust funds into my trust account and then transfer the fee payments to my general account?

Can I leave the HST in my trust account after billing the client?

Withdrawals

When am I allowed to withdraw money from a trust account?

How must money be withdrawn from a trust account?

Who may withdraw funds from a trust account?

Can my assistant make withdrawals from a trust account?

Can I share my electronic fund transfer passwords or access codes with my assistant?

May I withdraw trust funds by cash or debit card?

How may I withdraw funds for the payment of legal services I have provided to my client?

Can I give verbal instructions for a wire transfer?

I use online banking. How can I comply with the Regulations?

Recording

What records do I have to keep?

Can I record receipts and withdrawals in the same book or data source?

Do I need to keep a running total of my trust account balances?

Do I have to keep cashed cheques?

What is the purpose of reconciliation?

When do I need to reconcile my accounts?

How long do I need to keep trust account records?

What if a trust account has been inactive for one month or more?

How do I clear stale-dated cheques?

What client identification information is required?

Overdrafts

Am I ever allowed to have an overdraft?

What should I do if a withdrawal results in trust obligations exceeding funds on deposit?

What should I do if an overdraft is caused by a banking error?

May I keep personal money in a trust account to prevent an overdraft?

Inactive accounts

I have one or more trust accounts that have been inactive for 30 days. What should I do?

What should I do with undistributed or unclaimed trust funds?

Audits and investigations

How are lawyers or law firms selected for audit?

If I am audited, what records will the investigator require?

Will I receive a copy of the audit report?

What are the consequences of non-compliance with the Regulations?