California Family Code Section 7961 requires egg donations and surrogacy client funds to be deposited into an attorney-client trust account or a bonded escrow company [see California Family Code Section 7961 (a)(1)(2)]. The only exception to this law is funds paid directly to a medical doctor for medical services, to an attorney for legal services or to a psychologist for psychological services [see California Family Code Section 7961 (d) (2)]. This law applies whether the client is domestic or international. A Perfect Match, Inc. (APM), abides by this law; therefore, we ask our clients to deposit the cycle funds (both egg donation and surrogacy cycles) required by their legal contractual obligations directly into a California State Bar attorney-client trust account held by Reproductive Law Center (RLC).
Attorney-client trust accounts are regulated by the State Bar, and the attorney is accountable directly to the State Bar for every penny they hold in trust. As a public service, the California State Bar has established a Client Security Fund to protect consumers against losses resulting from attorney dishonest conduct. The attorney can also be disciplined for trust fund mismanagement, including the loss of the attorney’s license to practice law. Furthermore, a law firm is never allowed to keep any interest earned on the account; therefore, the law firm gains no financial advantage by holding your funds for longer than necessary to complete your cycle.
For further information about Reproductive Law Center and their handling of trust funds please contact one the attorneys: [email protected] or [email protected] or (888) 259-6000.
A Perfect Match, Inc.(APM) uses Reproductive Law Center (RLC) to service our clients because RLC offers the most comprehensive handling of client funds and provides the best service to our clients. RLC pays all bills on time and generally within one working day from time they receive the request for payment. They send clients a detailed summary of their account once per month or whenever client requests it in writing. With a staff devoted to working exclusively on trust accounts, RLC is available to answer any questions you have regarding your funds during normal working hours. At the end of a cycle, RLC sends a full accounting to the client along with a redacted copy (removing sensitive identifying information) of every payment request made by APM or other entities, as well as a copy of every supporting invoice. Clients can compare each line item on their accounting to RLC’s invoices, and consequently know there are no mistakes. RLC has never breached confidentiality by leaving a name, address, or other identifying information on invoices that the intended parent or donor can access, which is especially important in anonymous cycles.
Thomas Pinkerton is the owner and president of RLC. Thomas is also the husband of Darlene Pinkerton; however, RLC is not involved in the day-to-day business of APM, and APM is not involved in the day-to-day business of RLC. Despite Mr. Pinkerton’s relationship with Darlene, no one on APM’s staff is authorized to write a check or in any other way touch the money held in any client trust through RLC. APM only has the authority to write requests for payments for items that have been agreed upon with the client ahead of time in the form of an estimate submitted to and approved by our client. In short, we are confident that there is no safer place for your money than in RLC’s trust account.
We may makes some exceptions in the case of a local donor cycle that only requires a few payments through the trust account; however, this decision is made on a case by case basis. We never make exceptions for surrogacy cases as this is a year long financial relationship requiring many payments to the surrogate and professionals involved in the surrogacy. APM already has a process in place that allows us to remain consistent with each surrogacy with very little chance of error. We don’t want to take the risk of missing an important payment simply because another fund holder has a different way of handling requests, payments and accounting practices.
FDIC insures the client funds held by RLC. FDIC covers bank failure (with coverage of $250K for each client), which is higher than the amount most clients deposit in trust.
All trust money is held in an IOLTA account (Interest on Lawyer’s Trust Accounts), which affords RLC the backing of the California State Bar. According to the California State Bar website: “The Legal Services Trust Fund Program receives interest on attorney-client trust accounts and distributes those funds to approximately 100 nonprofit legal aid organizations that provide free legal services in civil matters to indigent Californians.” (See here for more information)
The California Bar IOLTA Accounts are subject to review by California State Bar and to strict rules for the banks that hold those accounts. An IOLTA account can be opened only by a law office or lawyer under the rules of IOLTA accounts (Corporate, Sole Proprietor, etc., cannot open IOLTA accounts unless overseen by a lawyer), and that lawyer/firm is subject to disciplinary action for any violations of the IOLTA account rules.
For further information about Reproductive Law Center and their handling of trust funds, contact a RLC attorney: [email protected] or [email protected], or 1-888 259-6000.
|8340 Allison Avenue, La Mesa, CA 91942|
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