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If a lawyer receives funds from the sale of real property in an estate he/she is probating, where should money be deposited?

Pensacola, FL |
Filed under: Probate

Is the money required to go into the client trust fund or can it be deposited into the firm's bank account?

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Attorney answers 5


If the lawyer is holding the clients' funds, then they belong in a trust account. Why the lawyer is holding these funds and not an estate account is not clear to me.

James Frederick

*** LEGAL DISCLAIMER I am licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and have offices in Wayne and Ingham Counties. My practice is focused in the areas of estate planning and probate administration. I am ethically required to state that the above answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. These responses should be considered general legal education and are intended to provide general information about the question asked. Frequently, the question does not include important facts that, if known, could significantly change the answer. Information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state. If I refer to your state's laws, you should not rely on what I say; I just did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant that I hoped you would find helpful. You should verify and confirm any information provided with an attorney licensed in your state.


If the attorney is the PR/Executor-it would be held in the estate account.
If the attorney is not the PR-then it should be held in escrow account.

The answer given does not imply that an attorney-client relationship has been established and your best course of action is to have legal representation in this matter.


The funds should be in the Estate account. Alternatively they could be in an attorney's trust account, if there is no estate account. They should not be in the attorney's operating account.

The contents of this answer should be considered friendly advice, not legal advice and the answer should not be construed to constitute an attorney-client relationship. If you'd like actual legal advice, call me at 954-567-4100. Also, if you liked this answer did, be sure to click the thumbs-up button


It should be deposited in the estate bank account under ordinary circumstances. There may be an exception if, for some reason, the judge is not comfortable with that due to creditor issues, minor beneficiaries, or some extenuating circumstance. But the usual rule is to put funds in the estate account.

Don't take anything written here as legal advice.I am happy to offer my thoughts free of charge, and I would welcome the opportunity to speak with you about representing you. Please be aware, though, that at this point we have not established an attorney-client relationship. An attorney client relationship requires me to agree in writing to represent you. Unless that happens, you shouldn’t take anything I say to be legal advice or make any decisions based on it.


Estate funds should go into an estate account maintained by the estate fiduciary, ie Personal Representative.

But sometimes a lawyer may use a client trust account-- in some states called an IOLTA account-- as a legitimate replacement for an estate account. In general client funds should not be paid into the firm's own bank account; unless of course, the client has intentionally assigned the funds to the law firm for payment of attorney's fees. Even then, most law firms will prefer to run funds through client trust accounts first as a best practice.

No legal representation exists by virtue of this answer. Consult your attorney. Licensed to practice law in Indiana and Illinois. Circular 230 Disclosure: any U.S. tax advice contained in this communication is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code, or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any matters addressed herein.

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