May I keep the copies of cancelled trust account checks?

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Rule 5-1.2(b)(3), Rules Regulating The Florida Bar, allows attorneys to maintain copies of canceled checks rather than the originals. Most banks now return copies of canceled checks in the monthly bank statements, but generally provide copies of only the front side of the checks. To comply with the requirement, the copy must include both the front and the back of the check.

To maintain a copy of the front-side only does not satisfy this requirement because front-side only copies exclude endorsements and bank clearing stamps that are placed on the back of the checks.

Endorsements and bank clearing stamps are important portions of the check that establish that the proper payee actually received the intended distribution of trust account funds. Attorneys should request that their bank provide a copy of both sides of their trust account canceled checks in order to meet the minimum trust account record requirements.