(a) A lawyer shall hold property and funds of clients or third persons that are in a lawyer’s possession in connection with a representation separate from the lawyer’s own property and funds.
(b) Funds belonging to clients or third persons shall be deposited in a separate account maintained in a financial institution, deposits of which are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and/or National Credit Union Association (NCUA), having a deposit-accepting office located in the state where the lawyer’s office is situated (or elsewhere with the consent of the client or third person) and which participates in the required overdraft notification program as required by Supreme Court Rule 9, Section 35.1. A lawyer may deposit the lawyer’s own funds in such an account for the sole purpose of paying financial institution service charges or fees on that account, but only in an amount reasonably necessary for that purpose. Other property shall be identified as such and appropriately safeguarded. Complete records of such funds and other property shall be kept by the lawyer and shall be preserved for a period of five years after termination of the representation.
(1) Except as provided by subparagraph (b)(2), interest earned on accounts in which the funds of clients or third persons are deposited, less any deduction for financial institution service charges or fees (other than overdraft charges) and intangible taxes collected with respect to the deposited funds, shall belong to the clients or third persons whose funds are deposited, and the lawyer shall have no right or claim to such interest. Overdraft charges shall not be deducted from accrued interest and shall be the responsibility of the lawyer.
(2) A lawyer shall deposit all funds of clients and third persons that are nominal in amount or expected to be held for a short period of time such that the funds cannot earn income for the benefit of the client or third persons in excess of the costs incurred to secure such income in one or more pooled accounts known as an “Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Account” (“IOLTA”), in accordance with the requirements of Supreme Court Rule 43. A lawyer shall not deposit funds in any account for the purpose of complying with this sub-section unless the account participates in the IOLTA program under Rule 43.
(3) The determination of whether funds are required to be deposited in an IOLTA account pursuant to subparagraph (b)(2) rests in the sound discretion of the lawyer. No charge of ethical impropriety or other breach of professional conduct shall attend a lawyer’s exercise of good faith judgment in making such a determination.
(c) A lawyer shall deposit into a client trust account legal fees and expenses that have been paid in advance, to be withdrawn by the lawyer only as fees are earned or expenses incurred.
(d) Upon receiving funds or other property in which a client or third person has an interest, a lawyer shall promptly notify the client or third person. Except as stated in this Rule or otherwise permitted by law or by agreement with the client, a lawyer shall promptly deliver to the client or third person any funds or other property that the client or third person is entitled to receive and, upon request by the client or third person, shall promptly render a full accounting regarding such funds or other property.
(e) When in the course of representation a lawyer is in possession of property or funds in which two or more persons (one of whom may be the lawyer) claim interests, the property shall be kept separate by the lawyer until the dispute is resolved. The lawyer shall promptly distribute all portions of the property or funds as to which the interests are not in dispute.
(f) A lawyer who learns of unidentified funds in an IOLTA account must make periodic efforts to identify and return the funds to the rightful owner. If after 12 months of the discovery of the unidentified funds the lawyer determines that ascertaining the ownership or securing the return of the funds will not succeed, the lawyer must remit the funds to the Tennessee Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection (TLFCP). No charge of ethical impropriety or other breach of professional conduct shall attend to a lawyer’s exercise of reasonable judgment under this paragraph (f).
A lawyer who either remits funds in error or later ascertains the ownership of remitted funds may make a claim to TLFCP, which after verification of the claim will return the funds to the lawyer.
 A lawyer should hold property of others with the care required of a professional fiduciary. Securities should be kept in a safe deposit box, except when some other form of safekeeping is warranted by special circumstances. All property of clients or third persons, including prospective clients, must be kept separate from the lawyer’s business and personal property and, if monies, in one or more trust accounts. Separate trust accounts may be warranted when administering estate monies or acting in similar fiduciary capacities. A lawyer should maintain on a current basis books and records in accordance with generally accepted and reasonable internal control procedures and comply with any recordkeeping rules established by law or court order. See, e.g., Tenn. Sup. Ct. R. 9.
 Paragraph (b) of this Rule contains the fundamental requirement that a lawyer maintain funds of clients and third parties in a separate trust account. All such accounts, including IOLTA accounts, must be part of the overdraft notification program established under Supreme Court Rule 9, Section 35.1.
 Under Supreme Court Rule 43, Tennessee lawyers are required to report their compliance with their obligations concerning their IOLTA accounts and the handling of client funds and to comply with the technical requirements for establishing and operating such accounts. This RPC requires Tennessee lawyers to establish IOLTA accounts only at eligible financial institutions. Tennessee lawyers may rely upon the list of eligible financial institutions maintained pursuant to Rule 43 in establishing an IOLTA account to comply with subparagraph (b)(2).
 A lawyer is also responsible for assuring the payment of any financial institution service charges or fees on such trust accounts. Subparagraph (b)(1) of this Rule makes clear that any interest earned on non-IOLTA trust accounts belongs to the client or third party whose funds generate the interest, and that the interest earned on them may be used by a lawyer to pay bank charges or fees. A detailed accounting of such interest and fees may be necessary to avoid the payment of any client- or matter-specific financial institution service charges or fees (for example, charges for a certified check obtained solely for the benefit of one client) by a client other than the one on whose behalf the charge or fee was incurred.
 In determining whether client or third-person funds should be deposited in an IOLTA account or non-IOLTA trust account, a lawyer should take into consideration a number of factors, including the amount of funds to be deposited; the expected duration of the deposit; the rate of interest or yield available from the financial institution where the funds are to be deposited; the service charges, fees, and other costs that are reasonably expected to be associated with the deposit of funds; the cost of establishing and administering a non-IOLTA trust account for the benefit of the client or third person, including the cost of the lawyer’s services and the cost of preparing any tax reports required for interest accruing to the benefit of a client or third person; the capability of financial institutions or lawyers or law firms to calculate and pay interest to individual clients or third persons; and any other circumstances that are reasonably likely to affect the ability of the client or third person to earn income, in excess of any service charges, fees, or other costs incurred to secure such income from the funds.
 Subparagraph (b)(3) expressly recognizes that a lawyer’s decision concerning whether funds are required to be deposited in an IOLTA account pursuant to subparagraph (b)(2) is a discretionary one, and provides that a lawyer who makes such a determination in good faith shall not be subject to any disciplinary sanction for this decision. A lawyer or law firm should review the account at reasonable intervals to determine if the amount of the funds or expected duration changes the type of account in which funds should be deposited.
 In no event may overdraft charges imposed upon a trust account be paid from interest on a trust account.
 In order to allow a lawyer to pay appropriate financial institution service charges or fees on a trust account, paragraph (b) of the Rule expressly relaxes the prohibition on commingling lawyer and client funds in a trust account to permit a lawyer to deposit the lawyer’s own funds in the trust account for the sole purpose of paying financial institution service charges or fees, but only in an amount reasonably necessary for that very limited purpose. Lawyers should exercise great care in using this limited permission to deposit funds in a trust account, given the cardinal importance of the principle otherwise banning commingling of funds.
 Lawyers often receive funds from third parties from which the lawyer’s fee will be paid. If there is risk that the client may divert the funds without paying the fee, the lawyer is not required to remit to the client funds that the lawyer reasonably believes represent fees owed. However, a lawyer may not hold funds to coerce a client into accepting the lawyer’s position. The disputed portion of the funds must be kept in trust, and the lawyer should suggest means for prompt resolution of the dispute, such as arbitration. The undisputed portion of the funds shall be promptly distributed.
 Whether a fee that is prepaid by a client should be placed in the client trust account depends on when the fee is earned by the lawyer. An advance payment of funds upon which the lawyer may draw for payment of the lawyer’s fee when it is earned or for reimbursement of the lawyer for expenses when they are incurred must be placed in the client trust account. When the lawyer earns the fee, the funds shall be promptly withdrawn from the client trust account, and timely notice of the withdrawal of funds should be provided to the client. RPC 1.16(d) requires the refund to the client of any part of a fee that is not earned by the lawyer at the time that the representation is terminated. See RPC 1.5, Comment  for a discussion of two situations in which an advance payment from a client is properly treated as an earned fee and therefore cannot be placed in the lawyer’s client trust account.
 Third parties, such as a client’s creditors, may have just claims against funds or other property in a lawyer’s custody. A lawyer may have a duty under applicable law to protect such third-party claims against wrongful interference by the client and accordingly may refuse to surrender the funds or other property to the client. However, a lawyer should not unilaterally assume to resolve a dispute between the client and the third party.
 When two or more persons (one of whom may be the lawyer) have substantial grounds for dispute as to the person entitled to the funds or other property held by the lawyer, the lawyer, with due regard to his or her confidentiality obligations under RPC 1.6, may file an action to have a court resolve the dispute, including an interpleader action.
 The obligations of a lawyer under this Rule are independent of those arising from activity other than rendering legal services. For example, a lawyer who serves only as an escrow agent is governed by the applicable law relating to fiduciaries even though the lawyer does not render legal services in the transaction.
 In certain circumstances, Tennessee law governing abandoned property may apply to monies in lawyer trust accounts or other property left in the hands of lawyers and may govern its disposition. See Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 66-29-101 to 66-29-204 (Uniform Disposition of Unclaimed Property Act).
 Paragraph (a) of this Rule requires a lawyer to hold property and funds of clients or third persons separate from the lawyer’s own property and funds. In addition, paragraph (b) provides that a lawyer may deposit the lawyer’s own funds in a separate trust account “for the sole purpose of paying financial institution service charges and fees. . ., but only in an amount reasonably necessary for that purpose.” Taken together, those provisions require a lawyer to promptly withdraw from the lawyer’s trust account any legal fees earned by the lawyer. Additionally, the lawyer may not pay his or her own personal or professional expenses directly from the trust account, even if the trust account temporarily contains legal fees earned by the lawyer; instead, the lawyer must withdraw earned legal fees from the trust account and deposit those funds into the lawyer’s own account, from which the lawyer will pay his or her expenses. See, e.g., Bd. of Prof’l Responsibility v. Allison, 284 S.W.3d 316, 324-25 (Tenn. 2009).
“Reasonably” See RPC 1.0(h)