Who Can Claim A Tax Deed Surplus?

You may be entitled to a Tax Deed Surplus, but you either don’t know it or you don’t know how to retrieve those surplus funds. The first question should be, “what is a Tax Deed Surplus?” This means that either you or a family member has failed to pay taxes on your property, the county you live in has decided to do a Tax Deed Foreclosure in order to recoup the past due taxes, and the property has been sold at a Tax Deed Foreclosure Auction. If the property has been sold for more than what the Taxes owed were, then there is a Surplus of funds. Some or all of these funds could belong to you, but there are steps that need to be followed to first determine whether you will receive them, and how much those proceeds are.

Many times, the person who owned the property has died and the heirs did not make sure the taxes were paid. However, those same heirs are now the ones who are due the Surplus from the foreclosure sale of the property. However, there may be lienholders that could be paid. According to Florida Statute 197.582(2)(a), “If the property is purchased for an amount in excess of the statutory bid of the certificateholder, the surplus must be paid over and disbursed by the clerk” to subordinate lienholders, and to parties who have made a claim for attorney’s fees, and then to the owner of the property at the time prior to the sale. Florida Statute 197.582(3), in order for these subordinate lienholders to received any of the Surplus Funds, they have “120 days from the date of the notice to file a written claim with the clerk for the surplus proceeds.” Furthermore, Florida Statute 197.582(5), claims that are not filed on or before close of business on the 120th day after the date of the mailed notice as required by subsection (2), are barred.

Once all subordinate lienholders have either made a claim, or have been barred due to time constraints, then Surplus Funds remaining, if any, go to the original property owner or his/her heirs. But who are the heirs? If a person dies, his/her relatives are called the heirs and their belongings, either tangible (physical property) or intangible (monetary) property goes to the heirs per stirpes. Per stirpes means “by stock” or “by roots”. For example, when a man or woman dies intestate (no Will), the children of that person may receive any property they have left. If the children are also deceased but have children (grandchildren of the original person) the property goes to them. If there are no children or grandchildren, etc. then the property goes to siblings or their children. If there are none of those, it goes to the deceased person’s parents.

Most of the time when there is a Tax Deed Surplus it is due to someone passing away and not paying those property taxes. Sometimes the family doesn’t know what to do and the taxes continue to not be paid and the home is sold at a Tax Deed Sale. Sometimes the family doesn’t know about any surplus from the sale until they are contacted by the Clerk’s office or by a company that states they believe them to be heirs to the deceased and might be entitled to some Surplus Funds.

If you believe you or a family member may be entitled to Surplus Funds, have received a letter from the Clerk of Courts stating you might be entitled to Surplus Funds, or have been contacted by a company that claims you might be entitled to Surplus funds, do not hesitate to reach out to our firm. I handle Tax Deed Surplus cases in every county in the State of Florida. I will be happy to give you a Free Consultation to find out for sure whether you are entitled to a Tax Deed Surplus. And if you are to receive those funds, I will make sure you get the maximum amount you are entitled to. And I don’t get paid unless you do.

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