It depends. If Fixel & Willis assists you in settling all issues before the condemning authority files an eminent domain lawsuit, the money will be distributed for your benefit shortly thereafter.
If you do not authorize Fixel & Willis to settle your claims before suit is filed, an order of taking hearing usually occurs within four to ten weeks of the lawsuit being filed. The purpose of the order of taking hearing is to provide a legal means for the condemning authority to force the conveyance of the property it desires from you without resolving the question of what you are entitled to be paid as full compensation.
At the order of taking hearing, it is likely that the judge will enter an order of taking that directs the condemning authority within 20 days to deposit in the court registry what the condemning authority represents should be full compensation. Though not always, this is usually equal to the amount of money initially offered to you by the condemning authority. This amount does not include any compensation for business damages, if those damages apply. The property subject to the order of taking is conveyed to the condemning authority by operation of law upon the timely deposit of money into the court registry.
At the order of taking hearing, Fixel & Willis normally requests that the judge allow Fixel & Willis to withdraw the initially deposited funds for the property owner’s benefit once that money has been deposited. Withdrawing this money does not waive any rights to seek additional compensation.
Whether your claims have been settled before or after the condemning authority files its lawsuit, if your property is subject to a mortgage withdrawing these funds may mean crediting the mortgage account and paying a portion or all of the proceeds to the mortgage holder. This happens when language in the applicable mortgage or fairness demands that the mortgage be credited and a waiver from the mortgage holder cannot be secured.
Similarly, if there is a lien or judgment, pro rata real estate taxes are due, or an outstanding tax certificate exists, you may not receive all or any of the disbursed funds, depending on the circumstances. If not provided directly to you, the funds will be credited against the outstanding balance you owe.
Securing initial deposited funds for your benefit does not jeopardize your right to seek more money for the final settlement. Once they have been secured, Fixel & Willis will continue to seek these additional funds through the eminent domain litigation process. This process will end either with a subsequent settlement or a jury trial.
Please note that the law does not require the condemning authority to deposit any initial monies for business damage claims. It is possible, however, that there may be a deposit for trade fixtures owned by a business. If this occurs, Fixel & Willis will seek to secure these funds for the benefit of the business owner who is a client in a similar manner as previously described for property claims.