Client care

I’m holding £1 million in my client account. How can I make sure the funds are protected?

I’m acting in a probate matter and holding £975,000 in my client account. I’m tracing a beneficiary but it’ll be months before I can distribute the assets. The executor wants me to consider dividing the funds between banks. Am I obliged to do this?

The Solicitors Accounts Rules 2019 do not prevent you from dividing money among separate client accounts or distributing client money with different banks.

However, this may be an administrative burden. Some banks have several brands within one banking group and you would have to identify these.

The European Deposit Guarantee Scheme Directive brought changes to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).

The FSCS now provides protection for temporary high balances of up to £1 million for up to six months in the unlikely event that a bank fails.

Proceeds resulting from inheritance (as well as other life events) are categorised as temporary high balances.

As a result, you may not need to divide the money into separate client accounts with different banks. You can advise the executor accordingly.

For more information, see our practice note on protection for client accounts.

Disclaimer

While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information in this article, it does not constitute legal advice and cannot be relied upon as such. The Law Society does not accept any responsibility for liabilities arising as a result of reliance upon the information given.

Have you got a practice question?

Call the Practice Advice Service on 020 7320 5675 or email practiceadvice@lawsociety.org.uk.

The Practice Advice Service is staffed Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm.

Maximise your Law Society membership with My LS