Towards a Better Understanding of the Experience of Heirs on Heirs’ Property

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  • Authors: Deaton, B. James; Baxter, Jamie
  • Publication Year: 2019
  • Publication Series: Proceedings - Paper (PR-P)
  • Source: Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS-244. Asheville; NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service; Southern Research Station.


Heirs’ experiences with heirs’ property vary considerably. In some cases, the use of heirs’ property, and harmonized expectations about those uses, may be difficult to coordinate amongst cotenants. In these cases, heirs may be concerned about their ability to use the land to support wealth creation. On the other hand, some heirs may fear that another heir or non-family cotenant will seek to partition the cotenancy and, as a result, they may be concerned about their vulnerability to forced displacement from the property. These experiences—wealth and vulnerability—both arise because of the unique rights and duties associated with heirs’ property as a form of real property called tenancy-in-common. While these rights and duties have dominated debates surrounding heirs’ property, this paper draws attention to another set of legal relationships central to the internal life of heirs’ property and the experiences of heirs’ property owners: liberties and exposures. These relationships are diverse and remain understudied. A unique contribution of the paper is to conceptually demonstrate the importance of liberties and exposures to understanding the experiences of heirs on heirs’ property.

  • Citation: Deaton, B. James; Baxter, Jamie. 2019. Towards a Better Understanding of the Experience of Heirs on Heirs’ Property. In: Gaither, Cassandra J.; Carpenter, Ann; Lloyd McCurty, Tracy; Toering, Sara, eds. Heirs’ property and land fractionation: fostering stable ownership to prevent land loss and abandonment. June 15, 2017, Atlanta, GA. Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS-244. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, Southern Research Station: 44-48.
  • Posted Date: February 16, 2021
  • Modified Date: February 18, 2022
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