Elizabeth Warren has a plan to reform "Heirs' Property," which allows wealthy white property developers to steal Black family homes

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/08/20/a-new-farm-economy.html


Bravo - even if its just an accounting of another injustice to be corrected, I’m happy to see this get attention.


She really has a plan for everything. Kudos.


This is going to be a tricky one to get right, but not too hard to do better than now. Heir properties have several owners with equal-ish claim, each with their own self interest. Cousin Clark wonders why cousin Eddie gets to live on the family plot while he gets nothing. Clark’s an easy target to get the land back on the market. Cousin Eddie just wants to live in peace, but doesn’t have the means to get full title. … disaster…

But if it becomes easier for cousin Eddie to get full title, you can bet developers will use that too. Hey Eddie, how about I walk you through the process and then buy the property from you at a mark-up to what you paid. That’s certainly a better outcome than before, but still not optimum for Eddie or Clark.

Ideally there would be a way for Eddie to consolidate title, fairly compensate all the Griswolds for giving up their shares, and see to it that none get cheated of the true value of the property. Possibly with some sort of rider that any sale of the property over the next X years (even subsequent sales by some developer to someone else) sees some portion of the sale price go to the original heirs.


The headline is misleading. It’s not clear whether the “heirs’ property” allows abuse, or Warren’s plan allows abuse.

I’ve seen this too many times. It’s NOT just a thing of African Americans… Mom had a house and died without a will so the house is “jointly” owned by the kids who fight and squabble over it for years until one faction figure out how to take it and liquidate it to their own benefit. If one faction has a little money, they may force the property into probate and the court forces liquidation and supervises the split.

The problem, as laid out here, is no one has the resource to force probate until some, dare I say it, white knight trots in to fund the side who is most lucrative.

“heirs property” is just plain dumbness and familial squabbling generously mixed with the idea that laws can be ignored to no effect. And I KNOW I’m gonna get flamed for that.

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Any way to swing heirs’ property against rich white people? (Probably not. They can afford lawyers and bookkeepers.)

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