This is how you claim excess (“surplus”) funds after a tax sale in Baldwin County. As I obtain information from other counties, I’ll let you know. It’s not an easy process to find out these details!
For Baldwin County, you should first send an email to Karen Jones at the Revenue Commission. Her email address is KJones@BaldwinCountyAL.gov. Ask her to send you a copy of the affidavit necessary for an excess funds claim. I can’t give you a copy of the affidavit, because it has been revised several times by the lawyers, and will probably be revised again. To make sure you get the right version, ask for a copy. Give her several days to respond to your request. It’s very busy, especially now with the tax sales coming up. Being rude or demanding will not help you at all. Calling the office twice a day will not help. She will answer your email, when she gets a chance.
When you send your email to ask for the affidavit, you should also provide the name of the owner, year of the tax sale, and the parcel ID number for the property that interests you. Ask if the excess funds are still on deposit. Many times, people have gone to all the work to partner with the owner and claim the excess funds, only to find they had already been claimed and there was nothing on deposit! Why would an owner lead you down this primrose path? Perhaps they forgot. Perhaps somebody defrauded them. Perhaps they just like all the attention received from investors like you.
The person who owned the property at the time of the tax sale must complete the affidavit. If there were multiple owners, they must all sign. If the owner has died in the meantime, then it will need to be signed by his/her administrator or executor if probate was opened, plus provide a copy of the probate papers approving the administrator or executor. If probate was never opened, you’ll need signatures of all the heirs.
Send the completed affidavit to the attention of Karen Jones at the Baldwin County Revenue Commission, 1705 U.S. Hwy 31 S, Bay Minette, AL 36507.
Include a copy of the agreement between you and the owner regarding claiming the excess funds. There is no current requirement that the agreement be notarized, but it’s a good idea to do it anyway. The agreement should spell out how the check should be made payable (to you, to both of you, to an attorney who will act as an escrow agent, whatever you decide) and where the check should be mailed.
Also include a copy of the deed that transferred title into the owner. This makes it easier for the Revenue Commission to research the title, and make sure the person who signed the affidavit is the right person to claim the excess funds. You can research and print Baldwin County deed records at the following website: http://www.deltacomputersystems.com/al/al05/drlinkquerya.html
If there are no problems, you should allow 4-6 weeks to process the claim and issue the check.