Old Trust Balances

If you have old balances, you are likely frustrated by the challenges of dealing with them.

NSBS Regulations were enhanced a few years ago as part of the anti-money laundering amendments. Money in trust must be related to legal services the law firm is performing. Keeping money in trust indefinitely is inconsistent with that obligation.


Financial Institutions can be very slow releasing mortgages. If a mortgage is not being released within 180 days of closing, the solicitor undertaking to obtain and record the release must proceed with a s. 60 application pursuant to the mortgage release protocol. If they do not, the other solicitor has two choices: make the application themself or complain, but we appreciate complaining is neither preferred nor a solution. Keep record of the matter for day 181. If lawyers follow the Mortgage Release Protocol, old balances will not be such a challenge.

Resources: Dealing with Old Balances

Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society, “Guide for Returning Money or Other Property to Lost Clients”, (n.d.). Legal Services Support. nsbs.org.

Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society, “Preparing to Close Your Trust Account” (2020), Legal Services Support. nsbs.org.

Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society, “Application for Disposal of Undistributed Trust Funds: Procedure and Sample Documents” (n.d.). nsbs.org.

Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society, “NSBS Guide to Client Property: Intake, Protection & Return” (n.d.). nsbs.org.

Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society “FAQs Guidance for Old Trust Balances” section on nsbs.org.

Lawyers’ Insurance Association of Nova Scotia, “Mortgage Payout Protocol” (n.d.). lians.ca.