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Attorneys should verify IOTA titling

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The Florida Bar Foundation has learned that bank errors in processing account opening forms resulted in a number of IOTA accounts not being titled as required under Bar Rule 5-1.1(a)(1).

The banks substituted The Florida Bar Foundation’s name on the affected IOTA accounts for the name of the attorney or law firm provided to the bank on the account opening documents. Rule 5-1.1(a)(1) requires that all trust accounts, including IOTA accounts, should be clearly labeled and designated as a trust account. A correct IOTA account title is the name of the attorney or law firm and the words “trust account.” The Florida Bar Foundation’s name should not be in the account title.

The Foundation is aware of only three banks that titled IOTA accounts in error and contacted them immediately to advise of the requirements of the Bar rule. The Foundation also notified the Bar of the banks’ error. The Foundation will write all banks holding IOTA accounts to advise of the requirements of Rule 5-1.1(a)(1) for titling IOTA accounts and will include the information to the materials it routinely provides banks.

Because the information banks provide the Foundation would not necessarily disclose the IOTA account titling error, attorneys and law firms should contact their banks to verify that their IOTA accounts are properly titled. In addition, lawyers and law firms should ensure that any statements, checks, or other documentation related to their IOTA accounts reflect the proper titling.

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