Are you carrying old escrow funds in your trust accounts? Perhaps turning over these monies to the clerk of court might be the remedy for you. This method is best used when the parties refuse to come to an agreement yet fail to initiate legal action to determine rightful ownership.
Under N.C.G.S. 93A-12, a real estate broker or attorney holding disputed monies may deposit these funds with the clerk of court in the county where the property is located after properly notifying the persons claiming ownership of the funds. (Residential security deposits are specifically not allowed to be disposed of in this manner.)
Notification is satisfied by providing written notice directly to the person claiming ownership or by mailing the notice by first-class mail to the person at his or her last known address. This allows the parties claiming ownership to renew their interest in the dispute and possibly resolve the claim.
The broker must wait 90 days following notification to the parties before attempting to deposit the funds with the clerk and must certify that the 90-day time period has passed. Once the broker deposits the monies with the clerk, his responsibility over the disputed funds is over.
Thereafter, either party may file a special proceeding with the clerk to recover the funds. The clerk of court is responsible for determining the rightful ownership of the monies and disbursing accordingly. If no such proceedings are filed within one year of the deposit, the funds shall be deemed unclaimed and will be turned over to the Escheat Fund of the State Treasurer.
The “Certificate of Notice & Deposit of Disputed Funds” form is available at the Commission’s website: http://www.ncrec.gov/Forms/Misc/945.pdf.
This article came from the Feburary 2013-Vol43-3 edition of the bulletin.