How To Disburse Funds from Trust [FAQ]

Learn how to pay funds out of a Trust Account, via QuickBooks Online

Jay Sanchez avatar
Written by Jay Sanchez
Updated over a week ago

Whether paying an expense directly from a client's trust account or releasing settlement funds to a Client, your firm will likely need to write non-invoice transactions out of the trust account.

Note: This currently has to be done in QuickBooks Online. Make sure that you have access to the firm's account before continuing.

1. Create a Check in QuickBooks Online

Start by going to QuickBooks Online, pressing New, then clicking on Check:

ProTip: If you're paying reimbursable expenses directly from the trust, don't! Save yourself time and enter them in LeanLaw; that way when the invoice is out through trust, your expense is automatically included.

2. Fill out the check

Fill out the check as instructed below:

  1. Payee: Cite who the check is being paid to. This would be the vendor when paying an expense, or the Client when releasing settlement funds.

  2. Bank Account: Set the IOLTA/Trust bank account. If your firm has multiple trust accounts make sure to select the correct one.

  3. Category:Select the liability account for the Category. Remember, if your Client is set up for Matter-accounting you'll need to select the specific Matter's sub-account.

  4. Set the Description and Amount.

That's it, you're set!

Remember that these steps are the same any time you want to remove funds from Trust; whether it is a disbursement, lien, or payment to a 3rd party!


"Hi! So sorry about this - but I can't remember how to properly record disbursing funds back to a client. I have already refunded him, just need to appropriately record the refund in QuickBooks/LeanLaw."

You'll want to create a check in QuickBooks using the accounts suggested in the article. It will be a regular check like a payment, yes, but it requires specific accounts be cited in order to work. You'll notice that the IOLTA has been reduced, as well as the liability account for that Client.

"How do I pay an outside expense out of the client's trust account? I wrote a check in trust account in QBO but it did not take the amount out of the client's trust."

Make sure that within the "category details" of the check you reference the client's trust ledger. That will decrease his portion of the trust liability.

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