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United Way NELA expands second year of The Heirship Project

Beginning in August, United Way of Northeast Louisiana kicks off its second year of The Heirship Project, a project aimed at educating and assisting residents who need help obtaining a clear property title.

Heir property comes about when necessary legal work isn’t done after a property owner dies. Heirs who have a verbal agreement to live on the property, but no legal title could face many obstacles, including selling the property, making repairs on the property, or qualifying for government aid to fix damages to the home.

“Last year, 100% of our participants indicated the workshop was helpful and that they learned something new about protecting their property,” said Michelle Saucer, Director of Community Initiatives at United Way NELA. “We’re excited to expand the reach of this project in 2022 and make it as accessible as possible to our community members.”

The Heirship Project will consist of seven events with both in-person and virtual options. All events are free and open to the public.

The first workshop is Train the Trainer, geared toward teaching professionals how to help their clients. It takes place on Thursday, August 4 from 12 to 1:30 p.m. on zoom.

The following workshops will be on Thursday, August 4 at United Way in Monroe or on zoom; Thursday, September 15 at Bastrop Municipal Center; Thursday, December 8 at United Way in Monroe or zoom; Thursday, February 16 at Lincoln Parish Library; Thursday, April 13 at United Way in Monroe or zoom; and the last workshop is on Thursday, June 15 at United Way in Monroe or zoom. Each workshop will be from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

More information about obtaining a clear property title for heir property or registration details is available at 211. Individuals can dial 211 from any landline or mobile phone (available 24/7), or by texting a zip code to 898-211 (available Monday-Friday, 8am5pm).

Registration is also available online at United Way.

“Our goal is to assist those residents who really need help clearing these property titles, but it’s also to educate the public,” said Kim Lowery, Vice President of Community & Organizational Strategy at United Way NELA. “We want to equip other local organizations so they can provide direction to their own clients.”

Wesley Eby Johnson with E & P Consulting, LLC will provide education at all workshops. She says that families will have the opportunity to learn about various options, such as transferring property ownership to one or more individuals, selling the property to a third party, or continuing to have multiple heirs as owners of the property.

“Participants will be taught how to talk about these options with one another and how to be better stewards of the legacy properties left by their parents and grandparents,” said Johnson. “The end result of the Heirship Project should be that more property transfers will take place from the estates of the deceased to the heirs, leaving less properties becoming abandoned or blighted due to maintenance and repair needs not being met.”