Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of City and Regional Planning
If a property owner dies without a will in the United States, their property becomes known as heirs property. Heirs property is a significant legal issue for homeowners and communities across the American southeast. Because the deeds of heirs property remain in the name of the deceased property owner, it is difficult to determine where heirs property is and how much exists. Therefore, it is difficult to assess its impact on communities. This paper proposes a method for identifying heirs property and judging their community impacts. It uses Wake County, North Carolina as a case study. This paper also discusses current and proposed community options for dealing with heirs property.