There are literally millions of dollars in unclaimed Florida Foreclosure Surplus and Tax Deed Surplus Funds that either remain in the hands of the county clerks or with Florida’s Department of Financial Services, Division of Unclaimed Property. If you don’t claim these surplus funds, what happens to them?
The reason I bring this up is because I have had a couple of cases where a client backed out at the last minute because they weren’t sure if they were actually allowed to have these funds, or for some other reason. I can assure you that based on Florida Statutes and case law that has literally been around for decades, this money belongs to you!
Florida Statute 45.033(1) states, “There is established a rebuttable presumption that the owner of record of real property on the date of the filing of a lis pendens is the person entitled to surplus funds after payment of subordinate lienholders who have timely filed a claim. Additionally, Florida Statute 45.032(1)(a) states, “’Owner of record’ means the person or person s who appear to be owners of the property that is the subject of the foreclosure proceedings on the date of the filing of the lis pendens.” What all of this means is that if you were the one being sued for foreclosure because you were the owner of the property at the time the foreclosure case was originally filed, YOU are entitled to the Florida Foreclosure Surplus Funds after subordinate lienholders (if any) are paid.
I have literally handled thousands of these Florida Foreclosure Surplus Funds cases, and I can tell you that if you don’t collect the funds that you are due, no one else will be able to. This money belongs to you and could potentially help you in a serious time of need. If you don’t collect these funds, the State of Florida will keep them and use them to help fund the state school system.
At one time the court would appoint a Surplus Funds “Trustee” to help find people who may be owed these Florida Foreclosure Surplus Funds. This person would take a small percentage for doing the job of finding the party or relatives of a deceased party. However, with the recent changes in Florida Statutes, the provision for a Trustee has been removed. No one from the court is trying to find you to give you the money. You have to contact the court and file a motion to have these funds you are owed released from the clerk. This could mean that more and more people who are owed these Florida Foreclosure Surplus Funds will slip through the cracks and the State of Florida will keep more of your money.
Because a trustee is no longer appointed, you will probably be contacted by more and more third-party recovery companies. I never recommend working with any of these companies to recover your Florida Foreclosure Surplus Funds. They don’t necessarily have your best interests in mind when you sign up with them and they generally require you to sign over your rights to the surplus funds. If you are contacted by one of these companies, I highly recommend you contact a qualified Florida Foreclosure Surplus Funds Attorney who can best look over your case and let you know how much (if anything) you are owed from those Surplus Funds. An attorney will not ask you to sign over your rights to the funds and works for you.
If you don’t claim these Florida Foreclosure Surplus Funds, the State of Florida will keep them. This is your money, and you should have it. If you believe you are owed Surplus Funds from either a Florida Foreclosure Sale or Tax Deed Sale, please give me a call for a free consultation. I handle Foreclosure Sale and Tax Deed Sale Surplus cases in every County in the State of Florida, and I don’t get paid unless you do.