Heirs’ property issues in middle neighborhoods can happen when a homeowner passes without a will and their home transfers to multiple descendant heirs. These heirs can then end up with clouded titles and unstable property ownership. While all heirs have the same legal rights to enjoy and possess the property, they do not share any equal obligations for property maintenance. In many states, one heir can sell their share to an outsider, who can then force the sale of the property. The lack of clear title and fractioned ownership also limits the ability of any individual heir to sell, improve, renovate, and repair the property. Homes can become eyesores in the neighborhood, and families can lose an important family asset.
Studies have shown that heirs’ property issues disproportionately affect Black households due to the historic inaccessibility and distrust of legal services to do title research, register deeds and create wills, as well as the lack of access to conventional mortgage financing that would come with some of these safeguards. In this webinar, hear from practitioners who are working to prevent heirs’ property problems and to correct them when they happen so that heirs and their neighborhoods can thrive.