Trust Account Program
The OLR Trust Account Program has two primary goals: 1) to oversee compliance with the Wisconsin Supreme Court's overdraft reporting requirements; and 2) to educate lawyers with respect to safeguarding funds and maintaining proper records. For further information, please see the Trust Account Program's Annual Report.
Financial institutions: For further information on lawyer trust accounts and fiduciary accounts, including overdraft reporting, IOLTA requirements, electronic transactions and prohibited transactions, see information for financial institutions.
Overdraft reporting & IOLTA agreements
All Wisconsin IOLTA accounts are subject to both overdraft reporting and IOLTA requirements. In order to comply with these requirements, lawyers and law firms must enter into the following agreements with an IOLTA participating financial institution:
The Wisconsin Trust Account Foundation (WisTAF) maintains a list of IOLTA participating institutions (external link).
NOTE: Non-IOLTA trust accounts that are draft accounts are also subject to overdraft reporting. Fiduciary accounts are subject to overdraft reporting unless an alternative to overdraft reporting is in place. See overdraft reporting, for a list of the alternatives. Fiduciary accounts and non-IOLTA trust accounts must not be subject to an IOLTA agreement. [See SCR 20:1.15(c)(2) and SCR 20:1.15(k)(3)].
In the news
Guidance on paying eFiling fees: Circuit court eFiling is available throughout the state and is mandatory in many Wisconsin counties. However, the Wisconsin Supreme Court Rules relating to e-banking in trust accounts will impact how lawyers manage the payment of filing fees. For guidance from OLR on the payment options, read more.
SPD payments, including direct deposit: In order to receive payment at the conclusion of a representation, lawyers appointed by the State Public Defender's Office (SPD) must submit their hours and expenses to the SPD. If the expenses include fees owed to a 3rd party, such as an investigator, Wisconsin's trust account rules come into play. Read more.
Be alert for suspicious ACH transactions: Lawyers should be aware that there is a far shorter period of time for lawyers and other business people to notify their financial institutions of suspicious ACH transactions in corporate accounts than there is for consumers to report such transactions in personal accounts. Read more.
Trust account-related rules, record-keeping guidelines, & forms
- SCR 20:1.15 Safekeeping property effective July 1, 2016
- Former SCR 20:1.15 Safekeeping property effective through June 30, 2016
- SCR 20:1.5 Fees effective July 1, 2016
- SCR 20:1.0 Terminology effective July 1, 2016
- SCR 22.39 Burden of proof effective July 1, 2016
- OLR Guidelines for trust account records
- OLR Guidelines for fiduciary account records
- Forms for trust account record keeping
Topics of interest to lawyers
For guidance on a variety of topics relating to trust and fiduciary accounts, including electronic transactions, please explore the following links:
- Bond and crime insurance coverage required by SCR 20:1.15(f)(3)c.
- Commercially reasonable security
- E-banking trust account (how it works)
- E-banking trust account alternative (how it works)
- Legal fees and costs
- Scams targeting lawyers and trust accounts
- Trust account option chart
- Unclaimed funds
For guidance on dealing with common trust account problems that occur in certain specialized practice areas, including bankruptcy, criminal law, real estate, and personal injury, please use the following links:
- Circuit court eFiling fees
- Out-of-state lawyers: Trust account requirements
- Personal injury and other settlements
- State public defender fee payments
Education & resources
- Trust Account Manual
- Upcoming trust account seminars
- Guidance on trust aspects of legal fees
For further information, contact Travis J. Stieren, Trust Account Program Administrator, by phone at (877) 315-6941 or email at email@example.com.