Jeffrey T. Spell, Attorney at Law

1721 Ashley River Road
Charleston, SC 29407
(843) 452-3553
jtspell@comcast.net

Heirs Property

Several non-profit organizations exist in the Lowcountry of South Carolina to assist with quieting heirs property issues.

These non-profits are often funded by grants from the government to provide legal services for families who can not otherwise afford the bring this sort of litigation.  I believe there are some other requirements such as having the intention of keeping the property within the family.

I will find links to the websites for these non-profits and include them here soon.


Heirs property is a widespread problem in the South Carolina Lowcountry.  Heirs property is property which has been handed down from generation to generation without the formal protection of probate actions and properly executed Deeds.  Heirs often find themselves sharing ownership of tracts of land which, because of their defect in title, can not be sold for full value, mortgaged, properly subdivided or bequeathed without a successful action quieting the heir issues.

Heirs property issues can be extremely complicated.  Often the deciding factor is the amount of time which has passed since the death of the ancestor on title.

A major factor in resolving heirs issues is to have a thorough and accurate family tree.  This family tree should trace all known marriages, children and death dates for the heirs of the late property owner.  Although your lawyer can help you prepare this information, the real work needs to be done my the family.

Another common problem with heirs property is that often family members do not agree on the best use of the land.  Some family members might want to sell the property while others may want to try to keep it in the family.  These issues can create obstacles to moving forward and sometimes the Court has to decide how to proceed.  South Carolina has a recent statute that allows family members the first right of refusal if the land is to be sold.  This means that before heirs property can be sold in a partition action to an outsider, each owner (family member) has the right to purchase the parcel.

Quieting heirs issues can be very time consuming and expensive.  Legal fees and other fees for professional services (like surveyors and appraisers) as well as Court costs can be apportioned among the heirs who own the property. 

Please feel free to contact my office to discuss heirs property issues.  I do not charge for initial consultations.

More information to come.   

For an Interesting article on Heirs Property from the Post & Coourier, please follow this link:
http://www.postandcourier.com/article/20110206/PC1602/302069940

For an Interesting article on Heirs Property from Probate and Propert Magazine (ABA), please follow this link:

http://www.americanbar.org/publications/probate_property_magazine_home/probate_2009_index/probate_may_june_2009_index/rppt_mo_premium_rp_publications_magazine_2009_mj_Pridemore_Tides.html

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