You may own a piece of property and not even know it.
There are a lot of heir properties in Liberty County and sorting out who owns what has apparently been an ongoing issue.
To that end, the Liberty County Georgia Initiative for Community Housing is hosting an Addressing Heir Property Barriers workshop Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Liberty County East End Community Center.
According to information provided by Georgia Appleseed Center for Law and Justice, heir property is land held in common by the descendants of someone who died without a valid will, or whose estate was not offered for probate.
An heir is a person related to the deceased by blood or marriage and is living at the time of the deceased’s death.
Until a personal representative is appointed to administer the deceased’s estate, title to heir property automatically passes to qualified heirs who then own the estate in common, and each heir owns a piece of the property.
Heirs can include spouses, children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, adopted children, first cousins and distant cousins.
Bob Sprinkel, assistant county administrator, said one property in Liberty has more than 300 heirs and nothing can be done with the property without everyone’s permission.
The land cannot be sold, mortgaged or used to repay a loan. All heirs have to agree on how to use the property, which is no small feat.
Sprinkel said some people may not realize they are heirs and can end up losing property because of unpaid property taxes.
A survey was done for heir property in nearby counties and McIntosh County has 409 heir property parcels worth over $26 million, Sprinkel said. He said Liberty County has more than that.
A survey for Liberty County has not been done yet.
“People are constantly trying to find heirs and who owns things,” Sprinkel said. “This workshop is to educate people and let them know where they can get information.”
The workshop will cover topics such as how to find heirs, titles and deed searches, wills, how to prevent losing heir property, property taxes and why property comes up for sale on the courthouse steps.
This is the first time LCGIH is hosting this type of workshop.
“We’re excited about it. We run into this problem with heir property all the time and this is something the community needs to know,” Sprinkel said.
For more information and to register for the workshop email Bob Sprinkel at firstname.lastname@example.org, Melissa Jones at email@example.com or Georgia Holliday at Georgia.firstname.lastname@example.org.