Heirs’ Property

Our Mission

The Mississippi Center for Justice (MCJ) protects heirs’ property and promotes its sustainable use to provide increased economic benefit to historically underserved landowners.

What do we do for heirs?

Through education and direct legal services, we hope to serve, support, and empower heirs’ property owners and their communities throughout Mississippi. Ultimately, we want to offer services that will help heirs’ property owners keep, protect and utilize their land for generations to come, while protecting it from the pitfalls of predatory developers and timber harvesters, tax sales and forced partition sales.

What law-related services do we offer the community?


  • Presentations:
    A brief overview of our work as a whole and what we can offer. Presentations are often provided as the result of a direct request from someone in association with (or on behalf of) a local community or governmental organization or church, and they are available upon request to extended family groups.
  • Legal Seminars:
    A more detailed seminar conducted by a Center attorney to educate and explain (in detail) the law as it relates to heirs’ property and the legal services available through the Center. More advanced educational materials are supplied and attendees have the opportunity to speak directly with a staff attorney and learn what their options are, as far as attempting to clear title to their land.

Direct Legal Services:

  • Free initial consultations when someone applies for services. Someone has to apply for services in order to “start the ball rolling,” even if all they want is the free consultation and nothing more.


  • Family presentations/mediation of family agreement usually conducted at the beginning of a case and/or during a case as the family/heirs try and reach 100% agreement.


  • The drafting of Wills for individual clients and conducting Wills clinics for communities usually in association with local community organizations/churches.


  • Advanced Heirs’ Property Legal Services:


    • The Probate of Estates for those who have passed away within the last 10 years and whose primary asset is land. This is a service that helps prevent heirs’ property from being created.


    • Petition to Determine Heirs Actions in Chancery Court


    • Quiet Title Actions in Chancery Court


These more advanced legal services are the tools used to prevent and/or clear the title to the heirs’ property and have the property transferred (legally) into the name(s) of the current living owners.

Costs for Legal Services:

  • We are a non-profit basically providing legal aid, so at least one person who is an heir will have to qualify under our income guidelines to qualify for the advanced legal service.


  • There are never any costs for attorney’s fees.


Clients are responsible for any “costs” associated with their case. Title searches, deed recording fees, survey costs, court filing fees, service of process, and publication costs are examples of “costs” in some cases. These are basically things outside parties do for the client (such as a title search) or charges levied by others (such as court filing fees) that will need to be paid as the client works on his/her case. Even with costs, we do not order such a service until the client approves that cost and provides the funds. In other words, we never send the client a bill for something that has already been done and for which they are “on the hook to pay for”…if a title search is needed, we help client get quotes (if they so choose) and the client decides who they want to use and when the client provides the money for the title search, we will order the title search. If the client never provides the money for the title search, we will never order the title search.

What We Will Not Do:

  • Represent an heir who wants to force a sale of the heirs’ property.


  • Represent an heir whose end-goal is to sell the property. If a client receives free legal work to clear title to land and thereafter the client sells the land within two years of receiving free legal services, the client will have to notify the Center and may be required to reimburse MCJ for attorney’s fees. Otherwise, developers could be sending folks in to clear title (for free) so the client can sell the property to the developer.


  • We will not represent one heir vs. another heir where disagreement persists. If the heirs cannot (eventually) come to 100% agreement, the Center will never file an action with the Court. Disagreeing heirs in a courtroom risk losing the land to a forced partition sale.