In recent months I have been contacted by heirs of an estate that may have some Florida Foreclosure Surplus Funds or Tax Deed Sale Surplus Funds they want to be able to receive. Generally speaking, this can be a relatively simple process as long as you hire a competent Florida Foreclosure Surplus and Tax Deed Surplus Attorney. You have to first look to the Statutes. For Foreclosure Surplus Funds, you look at Florida Statute 45.033(b), which states, “An involuntary transfer or assignment may be as a result of inheritance.” For Tax Deed Surplus Funds, you look to Florida Statute 197.582(2)(a), which states, “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.” For this statute, you must make a claim for the surplus funds and state that you are the former owner of the property, or the legal heir(s) of the former owner of the property.
However, it isn’t always that simple. Many times, when someone dies, they leave behind much more than just some surplus funds. Perhaps they also left behind some valuable personal property, or a bank account, or even a safe deposit box. Whether or not this person left behind a Will, it may be necessary to file a Probate case in order to gain access to this property so it can be properly distributed to the heirs. All of this is considered property. Some of it is intangible (money), the rest of it is tangible (physical items of value).
We can use a home as an example for each. If a person’s home is sold at either a Tax Deed Sale or Foreclosure Sale, any surplus funds from that are considered to be intangible property. If someone leaves behind a home that has not been sold off, then that property is tangible. Whether tangible or intangible, the value of the property is what is most considered when deciding what type of Probate to do. A Summary Administration would be done if it has been more than two years since the person’s death (even with a will) or the property is worth less than $75,000. If the property is worth more than that, it may be necessary to file a Formal Administration in Probate. A Personal Representative may need to be appointed in order to gain access to some types of property. However, this is rarely needed if it is strictly Surplus Funds because of the automatic transfer of rights of heirs to those surplus funds. It is mainly when there are multiple types of property involved that Probate becomes necessary.
If you are unsure about whether a Probate is necessary for your specific case. Please give me a call for a free consultation. Whether a Formal Probate, a Summary Administration, or neither one is necessary for your Florida Foreclosure or Tax Deed Surplus Funds, you should always hire a qualified Attorney who can help you. I handle Foreclosure Surplus Funds and Tax Deed Surplus Funds cases in every County in the State of Florida, and I don’t get paid unless you do.