The Georgia Heirs Property Law Center
The Georgia Heirs Property Law Center increases generational wealth, social justice, and community stability by securing and preserving property rights of low and moderate income Georgians.
IMPORTANT NOTICE: Those interested in receiving direct legal services from the new Georgia Heirs Property Law Center (GHPLC) are advised that the GHPLC has limited ability to take on cases and the current priority for cases is Fulton County, especially the Westside neighborhoods of Atlanta, McIntosh County, Liberty County, and the Southwest Georgia region. In addition, potential clients must be income eligible to receive GHPLC's services. To determine if your case is eligible for representation please contact GHPLC Legal Projects Director Joann Johnston at 404-852-0700 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
An end to poverty begins with property rights.
The property rights of many landholders in Georgia –most often poor people of color—are threatened by the status of their homes and farms as “heirs property.” This term refers to property that has been passed down through generations without the benefit of formal land transfer procedures. Under the law, these holding are often owned jointly by multiple relatives many of whom may have had no connection with the land at all. Based on the results of the tax data base research project carried out by Georgia Appleseed volunteers, we have confirmed the existence of millions of dollars of real property throughout the state being held as heirs property. The holders of heirs property face challenges when they seek to borrow money to improve or maintain their property and can be ousted from their holdings under certain circumstance. Avoiding these results may require legal representation beyond the means of those with low or moderate income.
Filling the Gap
Georgia Appleseed is working to establish the The Georgia Heirs Property Law Center which ultimately will be an independent clinic focused on the needs of heirs property owners and offering at no or low cost the different services that will be needed to untangle property title: legal representation, mediation, title search, financial education, and other services.
Through the generosity of the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation, Georgia Appleseed has received critical early stage funding for the Center and has engaged a very talented and committed Executive Director. The Center will begin offering heirs property legal services in rural Georgia through an office based in Macon, GA, beginning in early 2016.
Read the report "Rooted and Grounded: A Georgia Handbook for Small Farmers and Their Land" here.
Learn more about urban initiatives of the Georgia Heirs Property Law Center, including contact information for potential client representation for residents in Westside Atlanta here.
To learn more about GA Appleseed's Heirs Property Project- click here.