Many of our clients have been contacted by an Administrator Ad Litem to let them know that there is a case pending that they might be a part of due to the death of a relative. You may wonder why you were contacted in this manner and what role this “Ad Litem” person has in a pending Florida Foreclosure, Tax Deed Sale, or Surplus Case. This person is appointed by the Court to help find people who may have in interest in the case.
Florida Statute 49.31(2) states, “The court may appoint an ad litem for any party, whether known or unknown, upon whom service of process by publication under this chapter has been properly made and who has failed to file or serve any paper in the action within the time required by law.” This means that if the plaintiff in the case can’t properly serve the defendant(s) they are suing, then the court will appoint this Ad Litem to help find them. During the time the Ad Litem is searching for the defendant(s), they are to be representing the interest of the missing defendant(s).
An Ad Litem could be a “Guardian” Ad Litem, “Attorney” Ad Litem, or “Administrator” Ad Litem. The difference in these different people is who they were appointed by the court to represent. A Guardian Ad Litem is usually appointed to represent a child or someone who is incapacitated in some way, either mentally or physically. An Attorney Ad Litem is generally appointed to represent unknown persons or people who cannot be found through regular service of process. An Administrator Ad Litem is appointed to represent the interests of unknown heirs or beneficiaries of a deceased person. This last one is the person that usually contacts our clients.
According to Florida Statute 49.31(2)(b), the purpose of the court appointing them is if “the ad litem discovers that the person whose interest he or she represents is deceased and there is no personal representative, guardian of property, or trustee to represent the decedent’s interest, the ad litem must make a reasonable attempt to locate any spouse, heir, devisee, or beneficiary of the decedent.” Many of our clients didn’t know they might have an interest in any Florida Foreclosure, Tax Deed, or Surplus Case until they were contacted by this Administrator Ad Litem. Most of the time it is after the property has already been in the process of Foreclosure for some time. If it is determined that the person has an interest in the property, they could try to keep the property or just let it go to sale. Once the property is sold at a Foreclosure Auction or Tax Deed Auction, there might be a Surplus of Funds. Those Florida Foreclosure Surplus Funds will belong any heirs that have been found by the Administrator Ad Litem.
If you have been contacted by an Administrator Ad Litem in regard to a Florida Foreclosure, Tax Deed, or Surplus Funds Case, please give me a call for a free consultation. I can evaluate your case and let you know if you have any claim to either the property or any Florida Surplus Funds remaining from the Foreclosure Sale or Tax Deed Sale of the property. I handle Foreclosure Surplus and Tax Deed Surplus funds cases in every County in the State of Florida, and I don’t get paid unless you do.