Claiming Florida Surplus Funds: The Big Decision

Haynes Law Group

After a homeowner loses their home in a Florida Tax Deed Sale or a Florida Foreclosure Sale, there is usually an aura of defeat and overwhelming sadness surrounding the former homeowner. If you have lost your home at a Florida Tax Deed Sale or a Florida Foreclosure Sale, I’m here to tell you that there still may be light at the end of the tunnel in the form of Foreclosure Surplus Funds.

Surplus Funds, in Florida, are the result of an overage of funds that are retained by the Clerk of Court after the Tax Deed or Foreclosure sale of a “real property,” as defined in Fla. Statutes 197.582 (2)(a) and 45.032 (1)(c).

Let’s face it, you may be reading this after having already been notified of the available surplus funds by pestering Florida Surplus Recovery Companies who are trying to use every tactic in the book to get you to hire them “to assist you in filing a claim” for YOUR surplus funds. First things first, don’t hire any surplus recovery companies.

After learning of the surplus funds that may be available to you (as the former legal titleholder/homeowner of the property are “entitled” to, per Fla. Statutes 197.582 (9) and 45.032 (2)), you may or may not have begun doing your own research into what goes into filing a claim for the surplus funds. With that being said, you’re now probably asking yourself whether you should file a claim as a pro se party/claimant, by using a Florida Surplus Funds Recovery Company, or by hiring a Florida Surplus Recovery Attorney to file the claim on your behalf. The decision on how/who should file your surplus funds claim is a big one that can either lead to a.) A successful claim to result in the Clerk distributing the surplus funds to you or b.) Disastrous and the loss of the surplus funds to another claimant.

When filing a claim as a pro se party/claimant, you will most likely be using a boiler-plate template which can usually be found on the Clerk of Court’s website for the County that the surplus funds were retained in. In my experience the boiler-plate template rarely results in a successful claim for the pro se party/claimant. In fact, the boiler plate template supplied by the Clerk of Court’s office often contains verbiage that is misguided or even outdated in accordance with the current Florida Statues. In addition, usually a claim filed by a pro se party/claimant is accompanied by a sworn affidavit, executed in the presence of a notary, that attests to the truth and validity of the claim. It is extremely important to note that should a Judge find a pro se party’s/claimant’s statements within the sworn affidavit to be untrue and incorrect they can find the pro se party/claimant liable for perjury. Therefore, if you choose to file a pro se claim for surplus funds you must be sure to carefully review your claim to ensure that all of the information contained within it is true and correct. Please note that the information supplied in this paragraph does not constitute legal advice and should not be construed as such.

Moreover, when it comes to hiring a Florida Surplus Funds Recovery Company to file a Florida surplus funds claim on your behalf, I strongly advise against it. Many of these companies are actually known to take a former homeowner’s surplus funds for themselves (if they are successful). This often leaves the homeowner(s) in complete devastation and without hope as not only have they just lost their home, but also, the surplus funds that they were entitled to. The way that Florida Surplus Funds Recovery Companies are able to take your surplus funds for themselves is by having you sign a document that essentially assigns away your right to the surplus funds and, in turn, assigns it to themselves.

Next, when you are considering filing a claim for Florida surplus funds I recommend that you consult with a Florida Surplus Funds Recovery Attorney, especially one who is well-versed in Florida Statutes 197.582 and 45.032. By hiring a Florida Surplus Funds Recovery Attorney to assist you in the filing of your claim you are protecting yourself from both perjury and fraud. Unlike Florida Surplus Funds Recovery Companies, Florida Attorneys are bound by a standard of ethics set by the Florida Bar and can lose their right to practice law in Florida should any of the ethics be broken. Most importantly, when you hire a Florida Attorney, you are hiring them to represent YOU and to protect YOUR interests.

With our firm handling Florida Surplus Funds Recovery cases, I can confidently say that our Attorneys have a complete understanding of Florida Statutes 197.582 and 45.032. If you are the former legal titleholder/homeowner and are looking to file a claim for Florida surplus funds after a Florida Tax Deed Sale or a Florida Foreclosure Sale of your home, please give me a call and I will personally give you a free consultation.

We represent Clients all over the state of Florida no matter which County they are located in, and we will work tirelessly to ensure that you have the best opportunity to receive YOUR surplus funds fast, efficient, and in the greatest amount possible. Here at Haynes Law Group, P.A., we represent people on contingency, which means we don’t get paid unless you do!

If, you are unsure whether you have surplus funds available, please refer to my previous blog that explains how you can locate your surplus funds in Florida.

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