The Interest on Lawyer Trust Account Program
The Supreme Court of Missouri administers Rule 4-1.15, which governs lawyers' trust accounts. All trust accounts must be established as interest-bearing IOLTA accounts, or non-IOLTA accounts. IOLTA accounts are pooled accounts where the interest earned on funds would not be sufficient to generate any net income to the client. This interest income is collected by the Missouri Lawyer Trust Account Foundation ("Foundation") and distributed in the form of grants to provide legal services to the poor and other law related services.
The Rule requires that IOLTA accounts only be held at approved financial institutions as determined by the Foundation and the Supreme Court Advisory Committee. The main requirements for an institution to be approved are: 1) all instances of overdrafts on the account are reported to the Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel; 2) interest rates paid on IOLTA accounts must be comparable to the interest rates paid on the same type of account for non-IOLTA customers; and 3) fees and costs charged to IOLTA accounts must be structured so as to not suffer extraordinary costs. Many institutions have proudly become part of the justice team by assisting in the creation and maintenance of these accounts and by waiving all fees on IOLTAs.
Our mission is to expand public education about our legal system and to provide assistance to those who wish to access the legal system, but do not have the financial resources to do so. The funds created by Missouri IOLTA accounts advance these goals by obtaining a fair return on otherwise idle funds.
Opening or changing an IOLTA Account? Take this form with you when you go:
Notice to Financial Institution and W-9
News of Interest
►FDIC announces program to insure IOLTA deposits. See "Financial Institutions"
►Missouri Supreme Court to require overdraft notification on all attorney trust accounts as of January 1, 2010. To learn more, click here.
Who Benefits from IOLTA Grant Funds?
During 2011, a total of $1.1 million in grant funds were awarded to seven non-profit organizations to provide civil legal services to the poor and to improve the administration of justice. For 2012, $ 1 million will be disbursed to eight grant recipients for similar purposes.
Visit the "Grants" page to learn more about the recipients, including stories of actual cases handled by grant recipients illustrating how IOLTA funds are helping those in need.