Attorney Unclaimed Funds Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Unclaimed IOLTA funds held pursuant to R.C. 4705.09;
  2. Unclaimed IOTA funds held pursuant to R.C. 3953.231; and,
  3. Unclaimed residual settlement funds, whether for named or unnamed plaintiffs.

See R.C. 169.01(L).

  • Attorneys;
  • Title agents; and,
  • Courts, settlement administrators, and county auditors who may be holding residual settlement funds whether for named or unnamed plaintiffs

are required to report Attorney Unclaimed Funds to the Division of Unclaimed Funds using the code: TR88.

TR88.

The Division of Unclaimed Funds has created a unique property code for Attorney Unclaimed Funds – TR88. Use this code when reporting such funds to the Division of Unclaimed Funds.

Yes. Unclaimed funds include all moneys, right to moneys, or intangible property, which remains unclaimed by its owner(s) for a specific period of time. Such funds may include client funds held in an IOLTA, funds held in an IOTA for a residential real estate closings, or settlement funds held by an attorney, court, settlement administrator, or county auditor. R.C. 169.01 and 169.02.

A detailed list of accounts that are required to report unclaimed funds, associated dormancy periods, and the corresponding Nature of Funds Codes is available in the Annual Report of Unclaimed Funds Forms, Instructions and Information booklet.

No. Under the Board of Professional Conduct’s Advisory Opinion 2008-3, a lawyer’s report of unclaimed funds belonging to a client whose identity or whereabouts are unknown does not violate the duty of safekeeping a client’s funds under Prof.Cond.R. 1.15 or the duty to protect a client’s confidentiality under Prof.Cond.R. 1.6.

Unclaimed funds become dormant when:

  • The owner has not generated activity on any account owned; accepted payment of the funds; corresponded in writing or contacted via email and/or telephone about the funds; or otherwise indicated interest in the funds within three years after the funds became payable or distributable to the owner.  See, OAC 1301:0-1-01(P).
    • Owner initiated or generated activity on one matter or account is considered activity on all of the owner’s other accounts or matters whether linked by social security number or otherwise. If an account owner is deceased, owner-generated activity includes activity from verified beneficiaries and estate fiduciaries who have a legal or equitable right to ownership or custody of the account.
  • Unclaimed funds held by financial institutions become dormant if the owner has not accepted payment of the funds, corresponded in writing about the funds, or otherwise indicated interest in the funds within five years after the funds became payable or distributable to the owner.

There is no minimum reportable dollar amount for attorney unclaimed accounts.

The Revised Code permits holders of Attorney Unclaimed Funds to remit those funds to the Division of Unclaimed Funds prior to the expiration of a three-year period of dormancy, as long as the holder has reason to believe that the funds will become reportable and satisfy the requirements of R.C 169.03.

Under Ohio law, owners of Attorney Unclaimed Funds have a right to recover the funds with interest from the State in perpetuity.  The Division of Unclaimed Funds oversees claims and determines whether a claim is to be paid.

More information on filing a claim is available at: https://www.com.ohio.gov/unfd/ClaimantFAQ.aspx.

The Ohio Access the Justice Foundation is authorized to utilize Attorney Unclaimed Funds to support civil legal aid and access to justice initiatives in Ohio.

Tammy Ringhiser
Services Manager at the Foundation
unclaimedfunds@ohiojusticefoundation.org

Bill Nicholopoulos
Account Examiner Supervisor at the Division of Unclaimed Funds
bill.nicholopoulos@com.state.oh.us