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What Books and Records Do I Need to Maintain?

Specific trust account record requirements are listed in rule 45.2(3)(a). If you have trust account you need to retain the following records:

  1. Receipt and disbursement journals containing a record of deposits to and withdrawals from client trust accounts, specifically identifying the date, source, and description of each item deposited, as well as the date, payee and purpose of each disbursement;
  2. Ledger records for all client trust accounts showing, for each separate trust client or beneficiary, the source of all funds deposited, the names of all persons for whom the funds are or were held, the amount of such funds, the descriptions and amounts of charges or withdrawals, and the names of all persons or entities to whom such funds were disbursed;
  3. Copies of retainer and compensation agreements with clients as required by Iowa R. of Prof'l Conduct 32:1.5;
  4. Copies of accountings to clients or third persons showing the disbursement of funds to them or on their behalf;
  5. Copies of bills for legal fees and expenses rendered to clients;
  6. Copies of records showing disbursements on behalf of clients;
  7. The physical or electronic equivalents of all checkbook registers, bank statements, records of deposit, prenumbered canceled checks, and substitute checks provided by a financial institution;
  8. Records of all electronic transfers from client trust accounts, including the name of the person authorizing transfer, the date of transfer, the name of the recipient, and the trust account name or number from which money is withdrawn;
  9. Copies of monthly lists of individual client ledger balances and monthly triple reconciliations of bank statement balance to check register balance to sum of individual client ledger balances of the client trust accounts maintained by the lawyer; and
  10. Copies of those portions of client files that are reasonably related to client trust account transactions.

You need to maintain these books and records for at least six years after completion of the engagement to which they relate.  A certification regarding this responsibility is included in the annual client security report.

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