2016 Trust Account Checkup
By: Benjamin V. Ipock, Title Counsel
For most North Carolina citizens, Thursday, June 9, 2016 was just a normal day. There was nothing extraordinary about it. However, the same cannot be said for members of the North Carolina State Bar who maintain trust and fiduciary accounts. This day brought the long anticipated North Carolina Supreme Court approval of proposed amendments to Rule 1.15 of the Rules of Professional Conduct (RPC). RPC 1.15 governs the safe keeping of entrusted trusted property and funds and is divided into four subparts: 1.15‐1 Definitions, 1.15‐2 General Rules, 1.15‐3 Records and Accountings and 1.15‐4 Alternative Trust Account Management Procedure for Multi‐Member Firm. The fourth subpart, 1.15‐4, is an entirely new rule that is “optional” to firms of two or more lawyers. Whether you know it or not, your obligations and responsibilities under these rules as an attorney have changed and we at Attorneys Title want to help you stay in compliance. Attorneys and paralegals attending any of our free 2016 CLE seminars will be a step ahead, as the program contains a segment that meets the new one (1) hour trust accounting CLE requirement. While a thorough review of all the changes is recommended, we wanted to make it a bit easier by pointing out the changes that will have the most direct impact on your daily practice.
Rule 1.15‐2(p) – Duty to Report Misappropriation
This rule has been revised to reflect the addition of the role of a Trust Account Oversight Officer (TAOO), as discussed below. Additionally, the revision includes the removal of the reporting requirement for unintentional or inadvertent misapplication of funds if the error is fixed prior to the next required quarterly reconciliation. If the issue or mistake has not been corrected, then self-reporting is still required.
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