(1) In all cases in which it is appropriate for the guardianship to terminate due to the ward’s death and in which property in the hands of the guardian cannot be distributed because no estate proceeding has been instituted, the guardian of the property shall be considered an interested person pursuant to s. 733.202 and may, after a reasonable time, institute such a proceeding. In the alternative, the guardian may follow the procedures set forth in subsection (2). (2)(a) In those cases in which it is appropriate for the guardianship to terminate pursuant to s. 744.521 and in which property in the hands of a guardian cannot be distributed to the ward or the ward’s estate solely because the guardian is unable to locate the ward through diligent search, the court shall order the guardian of the property to sell the property of the ward and deposit the proceeds and cash already on hand after retaining those amounts provided for in paragraph (e) with the clerk of the court exercising jurisdiction over the guardianship and receive a receipt. The clerk shall deposit the funds in the registry of the court, to be disposed of as follows:
1. If the value of the funds is $50 or less, the clerk shall post a notice for 30 days at the courthouse door giving the amount involved, the name of the ward, and other pertinent information that will put interested persons on notice.
2. If the value of the funds is over $50, the clerk shall publish the notice once a month for 2 consecutive months in a newspaper of general circulation in the county.
3. After the expiration of 6 months from the posting or first publication, the clerk shall deposit the funds with the Chief Financial Officer after deducting his or her fees and the costs of publication.
(b) Upon receipt of the funds, the Chief Financial Officer shall deposit them to the credit of public guardianship. All interest and all income that may accrue from the money while so deposited shall belong to the fund. The funds so deposited shall constitute and be a permanent appropriation for payments by the Chief Financial Officer in obedience to court orders entered as provided by paragraph (c).
(c) Within 5 years from the date of deposit with the Chief Financial Officer, on written petition to the court that directed the deposit of the funds and informal notice to the Department of Legal Affairs, and after proof of his or her right to them, any person entitled to the funds, before or after payment to the Chief Financial Officer and deposit as provided for in paragraph (a), may obtain a court order directing the payment of the funds to him or her. All funds deposited with the Chief Financial Officer and not claimed within 5 years from the date of deposit shall escheat to the state to be deposited in the Department of Elderly Affairs Administrative Trust Fund to be used solely for the benefit of public guardianship as determined by the Secretary of Elderly Affairs.
(d) Upon depositing the funds with the clerk, the guardian of the property may proceed with the filing of his or her final return and application for discharge under s. 744.527.
(e) The guardian depositing assets with the clerk is permitted to retain from the funds in his or her possession a sufficient amount to pay the final costs of administration, including guardian and attorney’s fees accruing between the deposit of the funds with the clerk of the court and the order of discharge. Any surplus funds so retained must be deposited with the clerk prior to discharge of the guardian of the property.