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How to Find the Best St. Louis Beneficiary Deed Lawyer Near Me?

Finding the right beneficiary deed lawyer in St. Louis is a critical step in ensuring that your property is transferred smoothly to your beneficiaries after your passing. Beneficiary deeds, also known as transfer-on-death (TOD) deeds, are an effective estate planning tool that allows you to pass real estate directly to your heirs without the need for probate. Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to find the best St. Louis beneficiary deed lawyer near you.

Understanding Beneficiary Deeds

Before diving into the search for a lawyer, it’s essential to understand what a beneficiary deed is and how it works. A beneficiary deed allows the property owner to retain control over their property during their lifetime. Upon the owner’s death, the property automatically transfers to the named beneficiary without going through probate. This process is straightforward and can save your beneficiaries time and money.

Why You Need a Beneficiary Deed Lawyer

While the concept of a beneficiary deed might seem simple, the legal implications can be complex. A beneficiary deed lawyer can help you navigate these complexities, ensuring that the deed is correctly drafted and filed. This minimizes the risk of disputes or legal challenges after your death. A skilled lawyer will also provide valuable advice on how to structure your estate plan to best meet your needs and those of your beneficiaries.

Steps to Finding the Best Beneficiary Deed Lawyer

1. Start with Research

Begin your search by researching beneficiary deed lawyers in St. Louis. Use online resources such as legal directories, review websites, and the Missouri Bar Association’s lawyer directory. Look for lawyers who specialize in estate planning and have experience with beneficiary deeds.

2. Check Qualifications

Once you have a list of potential lawyers, check their qualifications. Ensure that they are licensed to practice law in Missouri and are in good standing with the Missouri Bar Association. You can verify this information on the Missouri Bar Association’s website.

3. Read Reviews and Testimonials

Client reviews and testimonials can provide insight into a lawyer’s reputation and quality of service. Look for reviews on sites like Avvo, Martindale-Hubbell, and Google. Pay attention to comments about the lawyer’s expertise, communication skills, and overall client satisfaction.

4. Consider Experience and Specialization

Experience matters when it comes to estate planning. Look for lawyers who have a significant amount of experience handling beneficiary deeds. Specialization in estate planning law is also crucial, as these lawyers will be more familiar with the specific laws and regulations in Missouri.

5. Schedule Consultations

Narrow down your list to a few top candidates and schedule consultations. Most lawyers offer free initial consultations, which is an excellent opportunity to discuss your needs and evaluate the lawyer’s expertise. Prepare a list of questions to ask during the consultation, such as:

  • How many beneficiary deeds have you handled?
  • What is your process for drafting and filing a beneficiary deed?
  • What are your fees, and what services are included?
  • Can you provide references from past clients?

6. Evaluate Communication and Comfort Level

During the consultation, pay attention to how the lawyer communicates. Do they explain complex legal concepts in a way that you can understand? Are they responsive to your questions and concerns? It’s crucial to find a lawyer you feel comfortable working with, as estate planning can be a sensitive and personal process.

7. Compare Fees

Cost is an important consideration, but it shouldn’t be the only factor. Compare the fees of the lawyers you’re considering, and make sure you understand what services are included. Some lawyers charge a flat fee for drafting and filing a beneficiary deed, while others may bill hourly. Choose a lawyer whose fees are reasonable and transparent.

8. Check for Professional Affiliations

Membership in professional organizations, such as the American Bar Association (ABA) or the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA), can indicate a lawyer’s commitment to staying updated on the latest developments in estate planning law.

Making Your Decision

After completing these steps, you should have enough information to make an informed decision. Choose a lawyer who not only meets your qualifications but also makes you feel confident in their ability to handle your estate planning needs.

Benefits of a Well-Drafted Beneficiary Deed

A properly drafted beneficiary deed can provide several benefits, including:

  • Avoiding Probate: The primary advantage of a beneficiary deed is that it allows your property to pass directly to your heirs without going through probate, saving time and money.
  • Retaining Control: You retain full control of your property during your lifetime. You can sell, mortgage, or transfer the property without the beneficiary’s consent.
  • Flexibility: You can revoke or change the beneficiary deed at any time before your death, giving you flexibility in your estate planning.
  • Simplicity: The process of creating and filing a beneficiary deed is relatively simple compared to other estate planning tools.


Finding the best beneficiary deed lawyer in St. Louis requires careful research and consideration. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can find a qualified lawyer who will help you create a comprehensive estate plan that meets your needs. Remember, a well-drafted beneficiary deed can provide peace of mind, knowing that your property will be transferred smoothly to your loved ones after your passing. Take the time to find a lawyer who can guide you through this important process with expertise and care.

  • Quit Claim Deed Kansas City
    Quitclaim Deed Kansas City Quit Claim Deeds
    Quitclaim Deed Kansas City Quit Claim Deeds

    QuitClaim Deed Kansas City

    Kansas City Quitclaim Deeds can be complicated legal documents. They are commonly used to add/remove someone to/from real estate title or deed (divorce, name changes, family and trust transfers).

    The quitclaim deed in Kansas is a legal document (deed) used to transfer interest in real estate from one person or entity (grantor) to another (grantee). Unlike other legal conveyance deeds, the quitclaim conveys only the interest the grantor has at the time of the deed’s execution and does not guarantee that the grantor actually (legally) owns the property.

    Without warranties, the quitclaim deed offers the grantee little or no legal recourse against the seller if a problem with the title arises in the future. This lack of protection makes a quitclaim unsuitable when purchasing real property from an unknown party in a traditional sale. It is, however, a useful instrument when conveying property from one family member or spouse to another, and it is commonly used in divorce proceedings or for estate planning purposes.

    Title companies may require a person to execute a quitclaim document in order to clear up what they consider to be a cloud on the title prior to issuing title insurance. Similarly, prior to funding a loan, lenders may ask someone who is not going to be on a loan, such as a spouse, to complete and record a deed quit claiming their interest.

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    What Is an Assistance Animal?

    An assistance animal is an animal that works, provides assistance, or performs tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability, or that provides emotional support that alleviates one or more identified effects of a person’s disability. An assistance animal is not a pet.

    Individuals with a disability may request to keep an assistance animal as a reasonable accommodation to a housing provider’s pet restrictions.

    Housing providers cannot refuse to make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices, or services when such accommodations may be necessary to afford a person with a disability the equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling.

    The Fair Housing Act requires a housing provider to allow a reasonable accommodation involving an assistance animal in situations that meet all the following conditions:

    • A request was made to the housing provider by or for a person with a disability.
    • The request was supported by reliable disability-related information, if the disability and the disability-related need for the animal were not apparent and the housing provider requested such information, and
    • The housing provider has not demonstrated that:
      • Granting the request would impose an undue financial and administrative burden on the housing provider.
      • The request would fundamentally alter the essential nature of the housing provider’s operations.
      • The specific assistance animal in question would pose a direct threat to the health or safety of others despite any other reasonable accommodations that could eliminate or reduce the threat.
      • The request would not result in significant physical damage to the property of others despite any other reasonable accommodations that could eliminate or reduce the physical damage.


    A reasonable accommodation request for an assistance animal may include, for example:

    • A request to live with an assistance animal at a property where a housing provider has a no-pets policy or
    • A request to waive a pet deposit, fee, or other rule as to an assistance animal.




    In Kansas, you have two opportunities to appeal the value of your property. If you appeal the Valuation Notice that you receive in the spring, it is called an equalization appeal. This guide is designed to assist most taxpayers prepare for that process. It was not designed for appeals concerning land devoted to agricultural use or commercial and industrial machinery and equipment because such property is not valued based on its fair market value. For more information about the other opportunity to appeal, by paying taxes under protest, see the publication A Guide to the Property Valuation Appeal Process – Payment Under Protest Appeals. For more information about the appeals process in general, please contact your county appraiser.

    1. Why do county appraisers appraise property?

    Each year the cost of local services is spread across the value of the taxable property. County appraisers are responsible for uniformly and accurately valuing all property each year. That way, all citizens fairly share in supporting the cost of local services.

    (Local budgets ÷ assessed value of taxable property = mill levy.)

    Local services include police and fire protection, roads, parks, public health services, and schools. The statewide school mill levy is 20 mills ($20 for every $1000 assessed value).

    1. How is property valued for tax purposes?

    All property is valued annually as of January 1. Most property is valued based on its fair market value. Exceptions are land devoted to agricultural use, which is valued based on its income or productivity, and some commercial and industrial machinery and equipment, which is valued based on a formula set forth in Kansas laws. For more information, contact your local county appraiser or the Kansas Division of Property Valuation at (785) 296-2365.

    1. What is fair market value and how is it determined?

    Fair market value is the amount an informed buyer is willing to pay, and an informed seller is willing to accept, for property in an open market without undue influences.

    The county appraiser considers three approaches to value: cost, sales, and income.

    Cost Approach

    In the cost approach, the appraiser determines the replacement cost new of the property less depreciation.

    This approach is particularly helpful when the property is new or unique or if there are few sales in the area.

    Sales Approach

    The appraiser reviews similar properties that have sold, compares them to your property, and makes adjustments for differing characteristics. This approach typically is applied to residential property in areas with a substantial number of sales, but some counties may also apply it to commercial property.

    Income Approach

    In this approach, the value of the property is estimated based on the rental income the property would be expected to produce in the future. It is used primarily to value commercial property and apartments when sufficient market rent information is available, but a type of income approach might also be used for houses in areas with a substantial number of rental properties.

    1. How do I know if the value of my property is correct?

    Ask your county appraiser for copies of the property record card and cost report for your property. These documents will show the information the county has about your property. (For example— the number of rooms, type of construction, condition, square footage, etc.) Review the information and verify that the county’s record is accurate. If your property is a commercial building, also ask for the income valuation report, which will show how the appraiser considered typical rental income and expense rates for similar structures when determining value.

    For residential property, the county can also provide a comparable sales report which lists the data on your property compared with the data and sale prices of up to five homes the county considers similar to yours. Drive by those homes and make sure that they are similar. If not, take photos of them to your meeting or hearing to show how they differ. Some counties may be able to provide this information for commercial buildings as well.

    If you believe that the county’s value does not reflect the fair market value of your property as of January 1, you should appeal. The appeals process is an opportunity to review a property in more detail. We all want values to be accurate so we have a fair basis for sharing the cost of local services.

    1. What if my value increased?

    For the county to increase a property’s value, they must have reviewed the record of the property’s last physical inspection and have documentation supporting the increase.

    Beginning with tax year 2017, if a commercial real property value was reduced due to a final determination in the appeals process for either of the prior two years, the county appraiser is required to review the mass appraisal of the property and if the value exceeds the lowered value by more than 5% (excluding new construction, change in use or change in classification), the appraiser must either adjust the valuation based on information provided in the previous appeal or order an independent fee simple appraisal of the property to be performed by a Kansas certified real property appraiser.

    1. How do I appeal my valuation notice?

    Counties mail Valuation Notices from mid-February through early April. Appeal your Valuation Notice by contacting the county appraiser’s office within 30 days from the date the notice was mailed. An alternative form of notification may be approved for a year in which no change in appraised valuation occurs. Please contact your county appraiser by March 1 for more information.

    IMPORTANT NOTICE: After starting the appeal process, if you abandon your appeal you can NOT pay taxes under protest or appeal again later for the same property and tax year.

    Informal Meeting

    The appeal process begins with an informal meeting with the county appraiser or their designee. At the informal meeting, the county must initiate the production of evidence to substantiate the property’s valuation. The informal meeting is also your opportunity to explain why you believe the county’s value is incorrect. If the appeal includes leased commercial and industrial property, the county’s value is presumed correct unless you furnish the county a complete income and expense statement for the property for the 3 prior years; you have up to 30 days following the informal meeting to do so. The county will mail you written results of the meeting.

    Board of Tax Appeals (BOTA) Small Claims and Expedited Hearings Division

    If you are not satisfied with the informal meeting results, you may appeal the decision to the BOTA Small Claims Division if the property a) is a single-family residence or b) has a value below $3 million and is not agricultural land. If your property is a single-family residential property, you MUST appeal to the Small Claims Division before proceeding to the full BOTA. Small Claims appeals are heard by one hearing officer.

    To appeal, file the proper form with BOTA within 30 days from the date the informal meeting results were mailed.  Usually, the BOTA appeal form is part of the notice of results; if not, you may obtain one from the County Clerk. Filing fees may apply.

    The county must initiate the production of evidence to substantiate its valuation, and there is no presumption of correctness with regard to the county’s value. If the property is leased commercial and industrial property, the burden of proof is on the taxpayer unless you furnished a complete income and expense statement for the property for the 3 prior years within 30 days following the informal meeting. However, if you submit a private appraisal on the property with an effective date of January 1 of the year appealed, the burden of proof returns to the county. Contact BOTA for more detailed information.

    Board of Tax Appeals (BOTA)

    You may appeal a Small Claims decision or, if your property is not a single-family residence, you may also appeal the county appraiser’s informal meeting decision to BOTA. If your property is a single-family residential property, you MUST appeal to the Small Claims Division before proceeding to BOTA. The BOTA is comprised of three board members.

    To appeal, file the proper form with BOTA within 30 days from the mailing date of the Small Claims Division or county appraiser’s informal meeting decision. The appeal form should be part of the notice of results that you receive. Filing fees may apply. You must also file a copy of the appeal form with the county clerk and county appraiser.

    The county must initiate the production of evidence to substantiate the validity and correctness of the property’s valuation, except in the case of leased commercial and industrial property, when the burden of proof shifts to the taxpayer unless you have furnished a complete income and expense statement for the property for the 3 prior years.

    BOTA must accept into evidence a single property appraisal presented by a taxpayer with an effective date of January 1 of the year appealed which has been conducted by a certified general real property appraiser who determines the subject property’s valuation to be less than that determined by a mass real estate appraisal conducted by the county.

    Generally, BOTA will issue a written summary decision within 14 days after the conclusion of the hearing unless the parties agree to an extension. After receiving the summary decision, any aggrieved party may, within 14 days, request a full and complete opinion, which must be served within 90 days. Any aggrieved party may file a petition for review of the BOTA full and complete opinion to the court of appeals within 30 days. Or an aggrieved party may first file a petition for reconsideration within 15 days. A taxpayer may appeal to the district court from a summary decision or full and complete opinion within 30 days.

    The appeal rights of the parties after a BOTA order are complex, and more detailed information can be found at the end of the BOTA decision. 

    New Option beginning with Tax Year 2017:

    Alternatively, if you do not appeal the notice of informal meeting result to BOTA, you are allowed to file a third-party fee simple appraisal performed by a Kansas-certified general real property appraiser that reflects the value of the property as of January 1 of the same year being appealed with the county appraiser within 60 days from the mailing date of the notice of informal meeting result.

    The county appraiser has 15 days after the timely receipt of the appraisal to review and consider the appraisal in the determination of the valuation or classification of the property and mail a supplemental notice of final determination. If you are not satisfied by the final determination, you may file an appeal to BOTA within 30 days. Please contact your county appraiser or PVD for more information.

    1. What should I bring to the hearing?

    Even though the burden of proof may be on the county, be prepared to show why your value is more accurate. You will want to provide information that supports your request for a lower value.

    Some examples to consider are:

    • Recent sales information about property similar in condition, quality, style, age, and location. The appraiser’s office can provide you with comparable sales reports for your property or similar properties upon request. Be sure to allow time for processing and mailing.
    • A sales contract for your property if it was purchased within the last 2 or 3 years.
    • Photos and contract/engineering estimates of the cost to repair any structural damage the county did not fully consider.
    • A recent appraisal report for your property was prepared by a fee appraiser.
    • A complete income and expense statement for the property for the 3 prior years, in the case of leased commercial and industrial property.
    • Although effective July 1, 2016, the county appraiser may not request that you provide certain appraisals or lease agreements, you may voluntarily provide such documents if you wish to do so.
    1. Can another person attend hearings on my behalf?

    Someone else may attend the informal meeting with the county appraiser, however, if the person representing you is not an attorney, you should first complete a Declaration of Representative form provided by the county appraiser.

    At a BOTA Small Claims Division hearing, a taxpayer may appear personally or may be represented by an attorney, a certified public accountant, a certified general appraiser, a tax representative or agent, a member of the taxpayer’s immediate family, or an authorized employee. If a representative appears without the taxpayer, the representative should have a completed Declaration of Representative form.

    Contact BOTA for more detailed information.

    At a full BOTA hearing a taxpayer may appear in person or by one of the representatives listed above, however, a Declaration of Representative form must be completed and, if the representative is not an attorney, they will not be allowed to question witnesses. Please contact BOTA for more detailed information.

    1. If I bought this property last year, shouldn’t the value be the same as what I paid for it?

    Your property will not necessarily be valued at its recent purchase price. One sale by itself does not determine market value, although it is generally given a great deal of weight. The county appraiser must first determine whether the sale price reflects the market. That is, whether the sale price is the result of an arm’s length transaction between a knowledgeable, willing seller and buyer. The sale is then considered along with sales of similar properties. Market conditions sometimes change between the time a property is purchased and its appraisal date (January 1).

    1. How do I get more information on BOTA rules and procedures?

    Contact BOTA by calling (785) 296-2388 or visiting their website at




    Frequent Questions About Tax Foreclosure Auctions

    How do I find out what properties will be in the next tax sale auction?

    A list of the properties and maps for the properties will become available for viewing approximately 30 days before the auction.

    If my property is in the auction, can I remove it?

    Any property in the auction may be redeemed and removed from the auction by no later than 5 p.m. the day before the auction. The property may be redeemed by contacting the County Department of Treasury, Taxation and Vehicles to receive the redemption amount to be paid and file an application for redemption pursuant to K.S.A. 79-2803.

    When and where will the auction be held?

    The date, time and location of the auction and registration requirements will be provided once an auction date and time are set.

    What types of property are in the auctions?

    Several types of property will be offered for sale at the auction. Some have buildings or houses; some are commercial properties; some are residential; some are vacant; some are very small strips of land. It is the buyer’s responsibility to research the property to determine whether it is suitable for the buyer.

    What type of research should I do before bidding on a property?

    While the buyer is responsible for researching properties to determine if they are suitable for use, the following are some examples of information that may be useful prior to purchase:

    • Determine the location and type of property.
    • Check with the city and county for zoning, building restrictions, and special assessments.
    • Check with the county appraiser for appraised value and current tax rates.
    • Check for easements and restrictive covenants; and
    • View the property. Please note: Ownership of the property remains with the current owner(s) until the sale has been confirmed by the court. THEREFORE, YOU MAY NOT ENTER THE PROPERTY WITHOUT THE PERMISSION OF THE OWNER(S).

    Will the properties be sold for the amount of taxes owed?

    The properties may sell for more or may sell for less. However, the County may choose to bid an amount up to the amount of the taxes owed, thereby setting a minimum bid.

    Who can buy properties at the auction?

    Generally, state law prohibits people from buying at the auction who:

    • Owe delinquent taxes in the County.
    • Have an interest in the property, such as the owners, certain lien holders, relatives, or officers in a corporation that owns the property; and
    • Buy the property with the intent to transfer it to someone who is prohibited from bidding.

    All bidders must execute an affidavit, under oath, stating they meet the statutory qualifications for bidding on a tax foreclosure property. Download an affidavit form. Interested bidders may review, print, and complete a copy of the affidavit.

    When do I pay for the property I purchase?

    All the properties must be paid for in full on the day of the sale. Only cash, cashier’s check, or money order will be accepted. Personal checks will not be accepted.  The buyer must also pay all recording costs and publications costs and other associated costs of sale.  Payors will receive a receipt for payment on the day of the sale.

    When do I receive a deed to the property I purchase?

    The Sheriff will issue a Sheriff’s Deed approximately 30 days after the court confirms the sale. A hearing will be held four to six weeks after the auction. If the court does not confirm the sale, the purchase amount will be refunded.

    If the property has a federal lien, a deed will not be issued until the expiration of the federal redemption period of 120 days after the sale if the federal agency chooses not to redeem the property. If the property is redeemed the purchase amount will be refunded.

    When can a buyer take possession of the property purchased at auction?

    Once the buyer receives a signed and recorded Sheriff’s Deed, they can take possession of the property. If the previous owner is still living on the property, a buyer must follow Kansas law in order to take possession.

    What happens to properties that do not sell at the auction?

    In the event a property is not sold at auction, the County may offer the property again at the next auction. Offers to purchase a property that did not sell at public auction may be accepted in accordance with K.S.A. 79-2803a and 79-2803b.

    Can investors purchase properties at tax auctions without attending the tax auction?

    Yes, but the investor’s agent must register prior to the auction and must attend and bid at the auction. Further, if the investor is the successful bidder, the investor must execute the required affidavit in the allotted time –generally within 48 hours after the auction. All bidders must register prior to the auction. Registration will be held the morning of the auction. The successful bidders and buyers must execute an affidavit, under oath, that they meet the statutory qualifications for bidding on tax auction property.

    Once a property is purchased at the tax auction, is there a redemption period before the purchaser may take possession?

    No. Kansas does not provide for a statutory redemption period as Missouri does.  Some properties are subject to a federal lien. The federal agency may redeem the property during the applicable federal redemption period. A deed will not be issued by the Sheriff until the expiration of the federal redemption period and only if the federal agency does not redeem the property.

    Further, the buyer cannot take possession of the property until they receive a Sheriff’s Deed. If a previous owner still occupies the property, a buyer must follow Kansas law in order to take possession.

    What type of ownership document is issued at the auction?

    The buyer will receive a receipt for payment on the day of the auction. The court will hold a hearing approximately three weeks after the auction to determine whether to confirm the auction sale.  The confirmation hearing is the only opportunity a homeowner has to make arguments to a Judge for some form of equitable relief outside of the normal due process provided prior to the sale.  Once the sale is judicially confirmed, the buyer will receive a Sheriff’s Deed which vests all legal and equitable title in the buyer.  The buyer can then file a lawsuit to enforce the rights of possession to the property.





    “Missouri state statutes require that properties with three or more years of delinquent real estate taxes are offered at the Collector of Revenue’s tax sale each year, which begins on the fourth Monday in August every year”.


    TAX SALE OVERAGES  –  A tax sale “SURPLUS” or “OVERAGE” is created when a tax sale occurs to collect delinquent real estate taxes and the amount bid in for purchase of the property is in excess of the amount of the delinquent taxes owed and other claims against the property as reflected in Court Claims filed after the sale is concluded and during the redemption period.  In these cases, there is created what is called a TAX SALE OVERAGE or SURPLUS that can be claimed by the owner of the property, or a lien holder, if certain procedures and claims are carefully followed.


    Here are some details about tax sale overages in Missouri:


    • In Missouri, any overdue property taxes act as a lien on your home automatically, without the necessity of recording, or any additional paperwork.
    • If you do not pay the amount due, the sheriff will eventually (after 3 years of missed payments) hold a tax sale and sell the home to a new owner.  Different rules apply for first-time/second-time sales, and third-time sales (90 days not 1 year on 3rd sales) as far as the timing or existence of owner redemption rights.
    • At the sale, the winning bidder bids on the property and gets a Certificate of Purchase.
    • All lands and lots on which taxes are delinquent and unpaid for 3 full years (whether continuous or not – can be cumulative over many years of payments that are short of the full amount owed, or intermittent years that were unpaid) are subject to a Tax Certificate Sale at Public Auction.  A Tax Certificate Sale is an amount bid for purchase of the property which covers the taxes owed to the County.  Occasionally the bidding results in competitive bidding and the amount bid in may be in excess of the taxes owed and even mortgages owed against the property.
    • Only people or entities that file claims with the Court may have an opportunity to participate in the distribution of Surplus Funds.
    • To receive official information concerning the lien, you can contact the Circuit Clerk or the Recorder of Deeds in the county in which the lien was filed.  In most cases, there is a list of tax sale properties that may be obtained either online or in person at the Assessors Office for the county in which the property is located.


    “In Missouri, after the Auction, the County will give you a Certificate of Purchase, which you can exchange for a deed one year later (after the redemption period if applicable) if you follow certain procedures”.




    140.230.  Foreclosure sale surplus — deposited in treasury — escheats, when — proof of claims. — 1.  When real estate has been sold for taxes or other debt by the sheriff or collector of any county within the state of Missouri, and the same sells for a greater amount than the debt or taxes and all costs in the case it shall be the duty of the sheriff or collector of the county, when such sale has been or may hereafter be made, to make a written statement describing each parcel or tract of land sold by him for a greater amount than the debt or taxes and all costs in the case together with the amount of surplus money in each case.  The statement shall be subscribed and sworn to by the sheriff or collector making it before some officer competent to administer oaths within this state, and then presented to the county commission of the county where the sale has been or may be made; and on the approval of the statement by the commission, the sheriff or collector making the same shall pay the surplus money into the county treasury, take the receipt in duplicate of the treasurer for the surplus of money and retain one of the duplicate receipts and file the other with the county commission, and thereupon the commission shall charge the treasurer with the amount.

    2.  The treasurer shall place such money in the county treasury to be held for the use and benefit of the person entitled to such money or to the credit of the school fund of the county, to be held in trust for the lesser of a term of three years or ninety days following the expiration of the redemption period for the lienholders of record or for the publicly recorded owner or owners of the property sold at the time of the delinquent land tax auction or their legal representatives.  The surplus shall be first distributed to the former lienholders of record, by priority of the former liens, if any, then to the former owner or owners of the property.  Lien priority shall be set as of the date of the tax sale.  No surplus funds shall be distributed to any party claiming entitlement to such funds, other than as part of the redemption process until ninety days have passed after the period of redemption has expired.  At the end of three years, if any funds have not been distributed or called for as part of a redemption or collector’s deed issuance, then such funds shall become a permanent school fund of the county.

    3.  County commissions shall compel owners, lienholders of record, or agents to make satisfactory proof of their claims before receiving their money; provided that no county shall pay interest to the claimant of any such fund.  Any such claim shall be filed with the county commission within ninety days after the expiration of the redemption period, be made in writing, and include reference to the lien of record upon which the claim is made.  The reference shall include the county recorder’s recording reference information such as book and page number, document number, or other reference information if the lien is not referenced either by book or page number or document number.  Should more than one party make a claim to any surplus funds and those parties are unable to reach an agreement satisfactory to the county commission, the county commission shall petition the circuit court within the county where the county commission sits for interpleader.  The county commission shall only be required to name as defendants those parties who have made a claim to the funds.  Upon judgment sustaining the petition for interpleader and the subsequent tender of the surplus funds to the court registry, the county commission so tendering such funds shall be entitled to seek discharge from the case.