SCSJ Secures Legal Victory for Heirs' Property Preservation

Thanks to efforts led by Southern Coalition for Social Justice families with heirs’ property can sleep a little more soundly this evening. On January 21, 2011, the North Carolina State Bar Council approved 2009 Formal Ethics Opinion 8. Most significantly, this ethics opinion limits the circumstances in which an attorney for property developers can also serve as a commissioner selling the land in question. This clear conflict of interest can result in one attorney driving a difficult to understand process that results in the loss of property that has been in a family for centuries. “Partition actions are still a danger to families with heirs’ property, which is particularly common in rural African-American families. And, while it cannot solve all problems relating to partition actions, 2009 FEO 8 makes these proceedings a little more equitable for those trying to hang out to their ancestral lands,” said SCSJ staff attorney Chris Brook.
Picture: The Freeman family stands on Freeman Beach, a historically black-owned beachfront property located at the north end of Carolina Beach that was the only beach accessible to African Americans in the South during Jim Crow years. SCSJ represents Freeman family heirs in preserving the land from a takeover by a developer.