99 N.J.L.J. 298
April 8, 1976
Investing Trust Funds
The question has arisen whether an attorney may ethically
invest funds of a client that he is holding in trust or escrow and,
if so, whether he is required to do so.
There is no statute, court rule, or disciplinary rule which expressly or impliedly requires the investment of funds held in trust. Since the facts and circumstances of each individual case are different, any blanket requirement for such investment would, in our opinion, be unwise.
On the other hand, there is no legal or ethical impediment to the placing of trust funds in an interest-bearing account, as long as the requirements of DR 9-102 and R. 1:21-6 are satisfied. The American Bar Association's Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility has recognized on at least two occasions, the use of interest-bearing trust accounts. See Informal Opinion 545 (l962) and Informal Opinion 991 (1967).
It would be advisable for an attorney either to obtain the consent of the client before investing the funds or to notify him of such investment at the time the action is taken. It goes without
saying that any such investment must be undertaken with the greatest of care, and only the most secure investments, such as in governmentally-insured bank accounts, should be made. However, it must be clearly understood that any interest or accretion is the property of the client.