You might be wondering what is heir property!?! Heir Property is defined as land held in common by descendants of a person who dies without a valid will or whose estate was not offered for probate (meaning it was not taken to probate court for administration). Heir property can also be created when a will leaves property to more than one beneficiary.
When a person dies without a valid will, the person dies intestate. All of the property owned by that person is considered intestate property. Intestate property typically passes down automatically to the qualifying heirs as tenants in common. (There are situations when the intestate property does not pass to all of the qualifying heirs but we won't cover them in this blog post.) Likewise, if a will leaves property to multiple beneficiaries, the beneficiaries own the land as tenants in common. As tenants in common, each heir owns a fractional interest in each piece of intestate property which gives each heir equal rights to use and possess the property.
While this may not seem like a big deal, when it comes to real property (i.e. land and all of the structures on said land) it is. When there are multiple heirs, owners, the heir property title is considered clouded. As a result, in order to do anything with the land all of the heirs must agree. However, unanimous agreement among heir property owners is rare. In Georgia, especially rural areas, heir property is a common problem.
The 5 biggest disadvantages of owning heir property are:
So what can you do to protect your family's heir property?
If there is no heir property in your family, give your ancestors a standing ovation! Then do your part to ensure that heir property never becomes an issue in your family by hiring an attorney to draft a valid will for you as a part of a comprehensive estate plan.
Simmons Rogers, LLC
Simmons Rogers, LLC is a full service civil law firm based in Atlanta, Georgia. We provide legal services as well as mediation and arbitration services, to businesses and individuals throughout the state of Georgia and beyond.
This blog is not intended to be a complete explanation of the law. Its purpose is to inform, not to advise on any specific legal problem or legal rights. If you have specific questions regarding any topic in this blog, you are encouraged to consult the Atlanta based law firm of Simmons Rogers, LLC or an attorney licensed in your