Skip to main content

Heir Property Pro Bono Project

The NCBA Real Property Section has partnered with NC legal services organizations Legal Aid of North Carolina, Pisgah Legal Services, and Land Loss Prevention Project to develop a clearinghouse of pro bono volunteers to assist legal services clients with heir property issues. Heir property issues include a wide range of both real property and estate planning matters. This project serves individuals who are generally low income, limited English proficient, seniors, and/or rural residents, and their families. The pro bono referrals are coordinated through the NCBA Real Property Section with assistance from the NCBF pro bono programs staff.

The Heir Property Project engages attorney and paralegal volunteers to provide a range of legal services, including:

  • general real property law (deed prep, easement work)
  • title searching
  • genealogy/heir research
  • estate administration/probate
  • help with real estate closings/refinance
  • partitions, business formation for heirs who wish to create a family business interest to vest their property
  • foreclosure defense (Tax/Power of Sale by lender)
  • estate planning, as a preventative measure

Learn More

    • Heir Property Project Lunch and Learn, held 8/2/23 – Learn more about the project goals, structure, and how you can be involved
    • Heir Property Discussion with Josh Walden, held 11/7/23 – Discussion with Josh Walden, the Chief of Operations at the Center for Heirs’ Property Preservation in South Carolina, to discuss the common issues confronting practitioners trying to “untangle title” in heir property cases.
    • Heir Property Lunch and Learn: Genealogy and Family Trees, held 3/28/24 – Sarah Carrier, Research and Instruction Librarian at the Wilson Special Collections Library at UNC Chapel Hill, discussed genealogical research methods using hypotheticals and real-world examples, and will address nuances related to accessing records in various formats in different areas of the state.
    • Heir Property Pro Bono Project: Updates from Volunteers and Staff, Wednesday, May 1 at 12 PM – Nicole Mueller, LANC supervising attorney, will be joined by project attorney volunteers Michael Crook (Parker Poe) and Nancy Ferguson (Chicago Title) to share about the impact that the Heir Property Pro Bono Project the project is having on clients, provide an overview of the types of cases coming in, and talk about cases that have been resolved. The panelists will also discuss client-centered advocacy, and briefly examine heirship affidavits and indemnities.

Legal Aid of NC Library of Articles and Resources

Additional training opportunities will be offered: dates/times/topics TBD (will be recorded)

Legal Aid of North Carolina

Legal Aid NC seeks attorney volunteers to accept limited legal services pro bono referrals to assist its staff attorneys by performing a client’s title search, identifying a client’s heirs, collecting a client’s probate files, or reviewing documents to identify legal needs and issues. Attorney volunteers will summarize the issues identified and the legal matters to be resolved and share recommendations for action. The volunteer lawyer will share their findings and materials with an assigned Legal Aid NC staff attorney for further action and client service. Learn more through this How it Works One-Pager

Land Loss Prevention Project

The Land Loss Prevention Project was incorporated in 1983 by the North Carolina Association of Black Lawyers to curtail epidemic losses of Black- owned land in North Carolina.  Among its practice areas, LLPP assists underserved farmers, homeowners, and landowners with debt restructuring, estate planning, and real property-related legal work. LLPP seeks attorney volunteers to accept pro bono referrals to assist clients with preparation of deeds, select issues in title searching, genealogy/family tree research, estate administration/probate, real estate closings/refinances, specialized tax questions, and select issues in estate planning.


Pisgah Legal Services

Pisgah Legal Services seeks to pursue justice by providing legal assistance and advocacy to help low-income people in Western North Carolina meet their basic needs and improve their lives. PLS seeks attorney volunteers to accept pro bono referrals to assist clients with general real property law (including deed prep and easements), title searching, genealogy / heir research, estate administration / probate, real estate closings / refinances, partitions, business formation for heirs who wish to create a family business entity to vest the property, foreclosure defense (tax or power of sale by lender), and estate planning.