MISSOURI UNDERSTANDING YOUR CLIENT TRUST ACCOUNT
Your payment to our office will be held in a Client Trust Account, or simply known as a “Trust.” Payments are paid by the client (or by someone on the client’s behalf) up- front as an advance on fees and expenses before the work is performed. These funds are held “in trust” and used to pay ongoing work performed by the attorney and/or legal staff or to pay expenses such as: court costs; process server fees, etc. As work is done on the case, said work is “billed” against the Trust. Every month you will receive a detailed invoice that shows the trust’s activity. The work done will be billed against the trust.
Think of the Client Trust Account like the gasoline tank that fuels the work on your case. A gas tank must first have gasoline in it before the car can move forward. You can’t drive a car and then pay a bill for the miles you’ve used. Instead, you prepay for the miles you want to use by filling up your gas tank before your trip. If you allow the gas tank to go empty, the car stops moving until you can get more gasoline. When a car runs out of gas, it usually runs out at an inopportune moment. For this reason, most people fill up their gas tanks before they completely run out of gas. You must treat your Client Trust Account in a similar fashion because it too will usually run out at an inopportune moment.
The “minimum trust balance” is the amount you must have available at all times. The purpose of the “minimum trust balance” is to ensure that the case is properly funded for its duration. Think of this as the “minimum fill line.”