Q: Do I have to use the surplus funds check from my deceased dad's house to pay any debts?
He passed away in 2021, the house went into foreclosure last year, and then they auctioned it off, and that was the last I heard about it until I was just contacted about there being surplus funds from the sale.
A: Excess funds from the sale belong to his estate. The reason why you were notified that the Clerk is holding excess funds is because there was likely a second mortgage, home equity line of credit, judgment lien, or tax lien (often more than one of these) that remains unpaid. You should contact a real estate attorney to look into what liens did not get paid from the sale, and how much is owed on those liens. Those lienholders get paid first - and there may not be any funds left over for your father's estate. If there are, yes his estate will need to publish notice to creditors, and the creditors have to be paid before the heirs are entitled to any money. If there will be any excess money a probate attorney will be helpful to handle the estate.
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