What client trust funds can be used to pay an invoice?

CosmoLex Team

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Client Trust Funds 2

When you’ve worked on a matter and are billing fees to a client, those fees can then be deducted from the client’s trust account. You can also look to seek payment on an invoice for reimbursement of advanced matter costs.

However, it is recommended to have the client view and approve the invoice prior to moving the funds[1]. With trust accounts, the funds are considered to be the property of your client and you are only holding them, so you should always get confirmation before using the account for disbursements. Once the invoice is approved, you can then transfer funds from the client trust account to your operating account. In some jurisdictions, it is allowable to transfer the funds from trust to operating before billing so the client can view the transaction on the invoice, but be sure to check with your local bar association for the definitive rules[2].

On those invoices, you should not include any payment fees. For example, if your credit card merchant charges a processing fee, you cannot place those fees on an invoice for reimbursement.


References

1. IOLTAs and Client Trust Accounts
2. A Lawyer’s 7-Point Plan for Trust Account Management