FEB. 5, 2018 – Charleston County Probate Judge Irvin Condon, who teaches elder law at the Charleston School of Law, offered insight on heirs’ property rights in South Carolina in a recently published study by Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.
The case study, “A Huge Problem in Plain Sight”: Untangling Heirs’ Property Rights in the American South, 2001-2017, by Gabriel Kuris includes interviews conducted in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, South Carolina and Texas in December 2017. Condon along with representatives from the Center for Heirs’ Property Preservation in Charleston, S.C., explained how partition sales by heirs created an urgent threat in booming areas like coastal South Carolina.
“Individuals would . . . [find] a piece of property, find out who the heirs are, find an heir living in New York or Chicago or somewhere else who had no intention of coming back to Charleston, and then offer the heir, say, $5,000 for the interest. The heir might see it as ‘found money’ and take the offer. Then the buyer might force the local heirs off the property through a partition or a sale,” Condon said.
The study not only identifies the problem but explains how individuals and organizations like the Center for Heirs’ Property Preservation, one of the many sites at which Charleston Law students can do pro bono work and externships, have worked to protect the rights of heirs’ property owners.
The study is available here.