Unclaimed Client Funds
Solicitors Regulation Authority’s (SRA) rules* and the Council of the Institute of Chartered Accountants for England & Wales (ICAEW) regulations** allow practices to donate unclaimed client funds to charities.
What are unclaimed client funds?
Unclaimed client funds are sums of money which lie dormant in client accounts of many solicitors and accountants, for years. It’s often the case that the rightful owner cannot be traced, a company has closed or they have failed to provide instructions on how the funds should be dealt with. Attempts will have been made to repay the funds but cheques might not have been cashed or not received if they have moved away.
We’re reliably informed unclaimed client account balances cannot be used for any other purpose, so they can be a burden on annual audited accounts. If your firm holds funds in dormant accounts then we would be delighted to receive them at Shooting Star Children’s Hospices to help us support more families who have a child with a life-limiting condition?
“We are delighted to support Shooting Star Children’s Hospices by regularly donating our unclaimed or residual client funds. As well as helping to fund their work supporting local families with a life-limited child or teenager, we are also meeting our own business needs. It’s really simple to do and risk free as Shooting Star provides us with an indemnity that they will repay the funds should the rightful owner come forward.” Stone Rowe Brewer LLP
We can provide a suitable indemnity for individual client amounts exceeding £500.
In 2021 donations of unclaimed client funds totaled an incredible £41,000 which was enough to fund a member of our care team for a year.
*SRA rules – Where the rightful owner cannot be traced, rules 20.1 and 20.2 of the Solicitors’ Accounts Rules permit balances under £500 to be paid to charity without SRA permission, providing certain safeguards are met. Amounts over £500 can also be paid to charity, providing SRA permission is granted and Shooting Star Children’s Hospices can provide an indemnity letter for this purpose.
**ICAEW regulations – The client must have remained untraced for five years. For sums of £10,000 and above (per client), Shooting Star Children’s Hospices is able to provide an indemnity for the sum provided.