Heirs' Property

What is heirs' property?

The USDA defines heirs’ property as land that has been passed down informally from generation-to-generation. In most cases, it involves landowners who died without a will. Heirs’ property is land owned “in common” by all of the heirs, regardless of whether they live on the land, pay the taxes, or have ever set foot on the land.

Geographic areas heavily impacted:

  • Appalachia
  • Colonias of South Texas
  • Mississippi River Delta Region
  • Native American Tribal Lands
  • Southern Cresent Region (Blackbelt Region)


SRDC Heirs' Property Report & Narrative

Research - Land-Grant Universities

The potential impact of heir property on timber management in the southern United States

Legal and cultural dimensions of land ownership

A place to call home: Cultural understandings of Heir Property among rural African Americans

Statutory impacts of heir property: An examination of Appellate and Macon County court cases

Heir Property in Alabama

Ownership characteristics of Heir Property in a Black Belt county: A quantitative approach

Splitting heirs: The challenges posed by the Heirs' Property ownership to coastal resilience planning

Wigfall v. Mobley et al.: Heirs property rights in family and in law

“The land is our family and the water is our bloodline”: The dispossession and preservation of Heirs’ Property in the Gullah-Geechee communities of Lowcountry South Carolina

Georgia’s heirs property: Assessing the impacts of “locked wealth"

Reforming Property Law to Address Devastating Land Loss

From reconstruction to deconstruction: Undermining Black landownership, political independence, and community through partition sales of tenancies in common

Research - Non-Land-Grant

Heir Property: Education, advocacy, reform

Heir property: A constraint for planners, an opportunity for communities

Identifying and addressing heirs property: A case study of Wake County, North Carolina

Heirs' property challenges families, states

Black farmers and rural heir property owners: Public policy response.

Understanding heirs' properties in the Southeast

Center for Heirs' Property Preservation

"The loss in my bones": Protecting African American Heirs' Property with the public use doctrine

Heir Property & cloudy titles: A community perspective

The rise and fall of Black real property ownership: A review of Black land ownership from the rough beginnings to the great grains

Heir property in the African American community: From promised lands to problem lands

Through a colored looking glass: A view of judicial partition, family land loss, and rule setting

Forty acres and a mule in the 21st century

Intestate succession and Heir Property: Implications for future research on the persistence of poverty in central Appalachia

Examining the consequences and character of heir property

Private property is the only way to eradicate poverty

The mystery of capital. Why capitalism trumps in the West and fails everywhere else

Implementing Jesuit charisms and core values in distance education

Heir Property, Federal Register

The Freedmen’s Bureau

The impact of heir property on Black rural land tenure in the southeastern region of the United States

Special edition podcast: Heirs Property

Federation of Southern Cooperatives, Land Assistance Fund

American slavery: The complete story

Unlocking heir property ownership: Assessing the impact on low and mid-income Georgians and their communities

The loss and persistence of Black-owned farms and farmland: A review of the research literature and its implications

The idea of owning land: An old notion forged by the sword is quietly undergoing a profound transformation

Race, wealth, and intergenerational poverty

Critical race theory: An examination of its past, present, and future implications

African American forest landowners, Heirs’ Property in the Southeastern U.S.: Challenges and opportunities for small-scale sustainable forest management

Preserving your property: A guide to Heirs’ Property in North Carolina

What is Heirs’ Property?

“Have not our weary feet come to the place for which our fathers sighed?”: Heirs’ property in the southern United States

Spatial dimensions of Heirs’ Property in Maverick County, TX

Heirs’ property and housing vulnerability

Wildland fire risk and social vulnerability in the southeastern United States: An exploratory spatial data analysis approach

Unearthing ‘Dead Capital’: Heirs’ Property prediction in two U.S. Southern counties

A huge problem in plain site: Untangling heirs’ property rights in the American South, 2001-2017

Clearing the heir: Problems with Heir Property

D-1 Application for subdivision pursuant to the family heir provision of policy 2.1.9 of the Tallahassee/Leon County comprehensive plan

Enabling owners of Heir Property to clear title, preserve wealth, and recover from disasters

The development of trust African Americans and the US government

Project attempts to stem the tide of African-American land loss through active forest management

Destabilizing the normalization of rural Black land loss: A Critical Role for legal empiricism

Restoring hope for heirs' property owners: The Uniform Partition of Heirs' Property Act

Partition of Heirs’ Property Act

The Great Recession and land and housing loss in African American communities: Case studies from Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi, part 2: Heirs’ Property

From metes and bounds to grids or a Cliff's Notes history of landownership in the United States

Being Black and Brown in the 21st century: Challenges and pedagogical possibilities

In the cross-heirs

Marginalization of African-Americans in the social sphere of US society

Documenting and preserving Texas freedom colonies

Identifying potential heirs' properties in the southeastern United States: A new GIS methodology utilizing mass appraisal data

The Fair Access for Farmers and Ranchers Act introduced today helps producers operating on heirs' property

The social meaning of inherited financial assets. Moral ambivalences of intergenerational transfers

Preface: Advancing environmental justice through community-based participatory research

Like snow in the spring time: Allotment, fractionation, and the Indian land tenure problem

Engaging rural and urban Appalachians in research using a community-based participatory research approach

Critical race theory, racial microaggressions, and campus racial climate: The experiences of African American college students

Preserving your property: A guide to heirs’ property in North Carolina

What is African-American land ownership?

Contextual meaning given to the family heir property title clearing process

The partition of Heirs’ Property Act

What you need to know about heir property

Indian issues: BLM’s program for issuing individual Indian allotments on public lands is no longer viable

Property and ownership

The contract for deed prevalence project. (Final report) Austin, TX: Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs

Informal homeownership in the United States and the law

Contracts for deed: Charting risks and new paths for advocacy

U.S. poverty in space and time: Its persistence in the South

Private property rights: The moral and economic foundation of a free society



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Estate Planning in North Carolina: How do you own your property?

Heirs' Property: Succession Planning for Farmers, Foresters, and Landowners: Webinar Series

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Partners & Other Helpful Links

American Farmland Trust

Arkansas Forestry Commission

Arkansas Land & Community Development Corporation

Attorney Mavis Gragg (Durham, NC)

Black Family Land Trust

Bowen School of Law (Bowen Clinic)

Center for Heirs' Property Preservation

Federation of Southern Cooperatives

Georgia Heirs' Property Law Center

Indian Land Tenure Foundation

Land Loss Prevention Project

Land Trust Alliance

Louisiana Appleseed

Midwest Center for Nonprofit Leadership

National Agricultural Law Center

National Timber Tax Website

Nature Conservancy

Oregon State University, "Ties to the Land"

Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers Policy Research Center

Trust for Public Land

United States Endowment for Forestry and Communities

United States Forest Service