Heirs' Property Owners One Step Closer to Legal Victory

On October 28, 2010, the North Carolina State Bar Ethics Committee unanimously passed 2009 FEO 8, an ethics opinion protecting heirs’ property owners in North Carolina. The opinion forbids attorneys from both representing developers seeking to partition heirs’ property and serving as the commissioner tasked with selling this family land at auction. When an attorney holds these two roles, developers can purchase the land for cheap and family members’ could receive less than market value for their ancestral homes.
In practice, the opinion will result in fewer situations where a developers’ attorney runs an entire partition proceeding. “This is a huge step towards fairness in heirs’ property proceedings here in North Carolina,” said SCSJ staff attorney Christopher Brook.
SCSJ headed up a coalition in support of 2009 FEO 8 featuring North Carolina Representative Angela Bryant, the North Carolina Advocates for Justice, Land Loss Prevention Project, the North Carolina Justice Center, the UNC Center for Civil Rights, the Heirs’ Property Retention Coalition, and Self-Help. The ethics opinion now goes to the North Carolina State Bar Ethics Council for final approval.