These summaries were prepared by McGuireWoods LLP lawyer Thomas E. Spahn. They are based on the letter opinions issued by the Virginia State Bar. Any editorial comments reflect Mr. Spahn's current personal views, and not the opinions of the Virginia State Bar, McGuireWoods or its clients. 
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LEO NumTopicsSummary


40-Trust Accounts

58-Real Estate Lawyers

The LEO provides guidance to a real estate lawyer whose checks are not cashed: (1) the lawyer should follow the Uniform Disposition of Unclaimed Property Act (Va. Code § 55-210.1 et seq.); (2) a lawyer must "use whatever means are reasonable" to find people entitled to receive trust funds (this would "in almost all instances" include first class mail and -- "if the amount of money involved justified the cost" -- include checking with telephone information or postal records); (3) a lawyer may deduct from the funds held in trust reasonable costs incurred in attempting to locate the party, but may not deduct an attorney's fee; (4) the lawyer may not agree with the client in advance that the lawyer may keep unclaimed funds.

Copyright 2000, Thomas E. Spahn