Cashpoint charlie

Print This Post

By Legal Futures

7 May 2010

Banking facility: solicitors should be careful how their client account is used

Q. I act as the executor of an estate and will shortly be in a position to finalise the estate and make the payments to the residuary beneficiaries. Although the amount each beneficiary will receive is not huge, one of the residuary beneficiaries is an alcoholic.

From my dealings with him, when he is not drunk, he is lucid and in my view, cannot be said to be mentally incapacitated. However, his family fear that if he receives the money, he is likely to spend it on alcohol. They have therefore asked me to retain the monies in my client account and use the monies to settle his bills and living expenses. Can I do this?

A. No. As an executor, you have a duty to distribute the estate in accordance with the will. Since you have no doubt as to his capacity, it is not clear, as a matter of law, on what basis you could withhold the monies from him.

Even if the beneficiary were to consent to your doing so, this would not be a proper use of your client account under the Solicitors Accounts Rules 1998. Note (ix) to rule 15 states that it is not a proper part of a solicitor’s everyday business or practice to operate a banking facility for third parties, whether they are clients of the firm or not and solicitors should not, therefore, provide banking facilities through a client account.

Leave a comment

* Denotes required field

All comments will be moderated before posting. Please see our Terms and Conditions

Legal Futures Blog

The LSB’s proposals for legislative reform: let’s be clear

Caroline Wallace LSB

The publication of the Legal Services Board’s vision for legislative reform of legal services regulation on 12 September has generated a healthy level of interest and debate. This can, on the surface, seem a somewhat dry subject. However, it has an impact not just on existing regulated practitioners, but also on providers of legal services more generally, as well as everyone who uses or benefits from an effective legal sector. And, let’s face it, that’s all of us.

October 25th, 2016