California Revenue and Taxation Code Section 4675 defines parties of interest and the priority for paying on claims:
a. First, lienholders of record prior to the recordation of the tax deed to the purchaser in the order of their priority (that is, the oldest active lien first),
b. and,Then, any person with title of record to all or any portion of that property prior to the recordation of the tax deed to the purchaser (after lienholders are satisfied any excess proceeds may be distributed to the prior owner of the property, assuming he or she filed a claim).
Note: certain liens are by law "super-priority" in that they take precedence over liens recorded earlier. Examples are tax liens.