When opening a trust account, what name to put on the account can cause some confusion. Attorneys often wonder what the name should be, especially depending on whether or not the trust account is an IOLTA account with multiple client funds in it or a single client trust account. Should the account name be:
- The managing partner at the firm
- The law firm
- The client or clients’ name(s)
Ultimately, all trust accounts should be in the name of an attorney or the firm. Trade names cannot be used on trust accounts.
In deciding whether or not to use the name of an attorney or a firm, that will come down to whether or not the firm has multiple attorneys and what the name of the firm is. If you have a firm which consists of more than one attorney, the name should be the official name of the law firm rather than the name of the individual attorney opening the trust account.
It’s also important to remember the account has to be designated an Attorney Trust Account (ATA), Client Trust Account or Client Escrow Account depending on your state’s bar association rules with that designation appearing on any checks or deposit slips. Be sure to check with your local bar association as to what the preference or requirement is as to the listing.
If you set up a non-interest bearing individual client trust account, that client’s name wouldn’t be on the account but they would need to be designated as the beneficiary. For pooled, interest-bearing accounts, the beneficiary does not have to be listed as that changes over time depending on your client list.