The Center seeks to: 1) prevent land loss among low wealth heirs’ property (HP) owners by helping them obtain clear title and keep their family land through legal education, legal and mediation services, community empowerment and free Wills Clinics, and 2) promote sustainable land use for increased economic benefit to historically under-served families. The Center provides legal services across the seven counties of Beaufort, Berkeley, Charleston, Colleton, Dorchester, Georgetown and Jasper and forestry services across four additional counties: Clarendon, Hampton, Orangeburg and Williamsburg
The three aspects of our work include:
- PREVENTION of the growth of heirs’ property through education and FREE Wills Clinics;
- RESOLUTION of heirs’ property issues through our direct, legal services, and
- LAND UTILIZATION which provide sustainable forestry educational workshops with expert partners, technical assistance and resources to develop and implement forest management plans for increased economic benefit to historically under-served families.
How we do it
The Center provides:
- Combined education seminars – Heirs’ Property (HP) and Land Utilization (LU) – to educate heirs on the rights, risks and responsibilities of owning HP and strategies to ensure they do not lose their land, and to educate landowners on managing forested acres for maximum economic benefit and on the programs and technical assistance available to them ;
- One-hour “Advice and Counsel” interviews – by appointment only – with applicants to determine the status of HP and best course of legal action (No legal advice can be given over the phone);
- Extensive legal assistance and representation to facilitate the process for heirs who want to “clear” title and keep their land;
- Family Presentations to promote family agreement, which is key to “clearing” title to HP;
- On-site Wills Clinics at which simple Wills are drafted to prevent the growth of HP ownership;
- Land Utilization workshops on Sustainable Forestry (SF) with expert partners on forest land use management, access to available state, federal, and other private agency resources and technical assistance, and
- Awareness-raising presentations about HP and SF services.
Why we do it
This work helps protect rural, family land against urban sprawl and development; preserve the unique cultural heritage of Lowcountry communities; sustain the region’s diverse ecosystem; increase land value and income through sustainable forestry and agro-forestry management, and engage under-represented groups in land use dialogue and in the value of land stewardship. Click here to read about some of the people we have helped.