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Reporting Unclaimed Lawyer Trust Accounts
Legislative changes in effect beginning November 2010
Unclaimed client funds in Lawyer Trust Accounts (LTAs) and inactive Interest on Lawyer Trust Accounts (IOLTAs) at financial institutions must be remitted to the Oregon State Bar starting with the unclaimed property report due by Nov. 1, 2010.  Until claimed, the unclaimed lawyer trust and IOLTA funds paid to the bar will help fund legal services to the poor under the Legal Services Program.
 
Affected holders may need to send two reports to the Department of State Lands Unclaimed Property Section (DSL/UP): one listing only LTA or IOLTA funds without payment; and one for any other unclaimed property reportable with remittance to DSL/UP.
 
A copy of the LTA report or IOLTA funds report must be sent with your payment to the Oregon State Bar by the due date.
 
Attorneys, legal services firms and financial institutions are all affected by this change. 
 
For attorneys and legal services firms, the abandonment period for lawyer trust accounts is two years.  For 2010, file a separate unclaimed property report for abandoned lawyer trust accounts that were last active before July 1, 2008. 
 
For financial institutions the abandonment period for IOLTA deposit accounts remains three years. For 2010, file a separate unclaimed property report for IOLTA accounts with a last positive owner contact before July 1, 2007. The funds and a copy of the report should be remitted to the Oregon State Bar.  Report IOLTA bank accounts as a co-owned property, and attorney/firm specifics and IOLTA unknown as the co-owner. 
 
Oregon State Bar
Remit LTA or IOLTA accounts to the Oregon State Bar with a copy of your unclaimed property report to:
 
Oregon State Bar
P.O. Box 231935
Tigard, OR  97281-1935
 
The property code for lawyer trust accounts and IOLTAs is: TR88 Lawyer Trust Accounts-OSB. This code should be used only when funds are remitted to the Oregon State Bar.
 
For financial institutions: Also see our reporting guide.
 
Department of State Lands – Unclaimed Property SectionSubmit your unclaimed property report of lawyer trust accounts or IOLTA accounts without payment to the address below:
 
Oregon Department of State Lands
Unclaimed Property Section
775 Summer Street NE, Suite 100
Salem, OR 97301-1279
 
If you have other property to remit to DSL/UP, do not comingle the items on a single report. You will need to file two separate reports.
 
Paper forms are available online.  
 
Exception
  • Missing heir money is still reportable and remitted as escheat property to DSL/UP (ORS 116.193, ORS 116.203).
 
DEFINITIONS
 
Lawyer Trust Account 
Lawyers holding property of clients or third persons must keep those funds separate from the lawyer’s own property. Funds, including advances for costs and expenses, escrow and other funds held for another are kept in a Lawyer Trust Account.
 
IOLTA Account 
Interest on Lawyer Trust Accounts (IOLTAs) are established at financial institutions by attorneys and legal services firms.
 
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS 
 
Q. Do I need to perform due diligence before reporting?
A. Yes, if the amount is $100 or more, you will need to complete due diligence efforts at least 60 days before reporting. You can find out more about due diligence on the DSL Web site.
 
Q. How will the owners claim LTA or IOLTA property?
A. If the property is not listed on the DSL/UP owner search, you can direct owner inquiries to the Oregon State Bar.  Once DSL/UP has added the names to the owner search database, claimants may file their claim inquiry via DSL/UP.  Inquiries against LTA or IOLTA property will be referred to the Oregon State Bar for review and approval. 
 
Q. What if I am reporting unclaimed funds held in a LTA or IOLTA account and the owner has a last known address in another state?
A. Generally, unclaimed property is reportable to the state of the owner's last-known address as shown on your records. To avoid confusion, you should report any out-of-state owners from an LTA or IOLTA account directly to the appropriate state.  State laws differ on abandonment periods and reporting so you will need to follow their reporting requirements.  A good resource is the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators’ Web site: http://unclaimed.org.   
 
Q. What if I am not in compliance?
A. Contact the Oregon State Bar for an extension to file the report.
 
Q. What if I need to remit the funds early?
A. Send request to remit early to the Oregon State Bar, please include the reason for remitting early and describe your attempts to locate the owners.
 
Frequently Asked Questions - Financial Institutions 
 
Q. Our financial institution has dormant bank accounts that are designated IOLTA. Do we report these accounts to the Oregon State Bar?
A. Yes, funds designated IOLTA should be reported to the DSL/UP but delivered to the Oregon State Bar with a copy of the report.  The abandonment period is three years.
 
Q. Our bank has only the attorney or firm name that opened the account in our records. How do I report the owner information?
A. Report the IOLTA as a co-owned property, with the attorney/firm specifics and IOLTA unknown as the co-owner. 
 
Q. What if the attorney or firm has other abandoned bank accounts in addition to the IOLTA account? A. The other accounts will be reported and remitted to DSL/UP as normal.  You will need to segregate the IOLTA account on a separate report for remittance to the Oregon State Bar.

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