Southern Coalition for Social Justice

Semester: 2009 Spring

Students: Jared Strumwasser, Becky Jaffe, & Jonathan Korin

The Heirs’ Property Retention Coalition (HPRC) combines the efforts of nonprofit organizations involved in litigation, advocacy, and scholarship to protect the low-wealth and minority owners of “heirs’ property” against land loss.

Heirs’ property is formed by generations dying without wills, which results in highly fractionated titles to land. Families can lose their property if all the heirs cannot agree on how to take care of the property together (pay taxes, upkeep, etc.). HNMCP is partnering with HPRC to establish best practices for organizing and conducting mediations of heirs’ property disputes.

Our work

Step 1: Conduct stakeholder interviews, focusing on the interests of the family members, and look for ways to build consensus around the issue of dealing with the piece of land in question.

Step 2: Design and implement the consensus-based decision making process.

Step 3: Assess the success of the intervention, and generate best practices.

Final Product

A full report of a model for consensus-based resolution of heirs’ property disputes for use by HPRC lawyers.

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