The Center for Heirs’ Property Preservation will hold its fifth annual Rural and Limited Resource Landowner Symposium Friday Aug. 28 and Saturday Aug. 29. For the first time in its history, the event will be held virtually. The cost for the two-day educational event is only $20.

The symposium is designed to assist Lowcountry residents with heirs’ property, as well as managing land for timber to provide increased income. Virtually, participants will have access to special guest speakers, expert panelists who are natural resource professionals from both state and federal agencies. Financial experts as well as professional foresters will also provide information on how to start a forest business. The symposium will also include USDA conservation programs and break-out sessions on heirs’ property issues, resolution, estate planning and forestland management.

Also scheduled will be a special panel of legal experts and judges who will share their experiences, common issues and encounters found in probate court and in master-in-equity court. There will also be an in-depth panel discussion on the critical issue of Black Land Loss.

A new element this year includes a session profiling the grant winners associated with the Gullah Geechee Preservation Project funded by the South Carolina Department of Archives and History. Charleston County has experienced unprecedented growth over the past few decades. As more people move to Charleston County, the need for new development threatens existing cultural resources. The purpose of this special workshop is to document how gentrification and development has eradicated the history and culture. It will also demonstrate the unique character in these Gullah communities, specifically buildings, cemeteries and communal land ownership. Nine different grant projects awarded with video stories explaining each individual project will be showcased with information about what they are working on and preserving for the future.

Symposium sponsors are USDA/NRCS, USDA Forest Service, USDA, National Institute of Food and Agriculture and the South Carolina Department of Archives and History.

The Center for Heirs’ Property Preservation has been protecting heirs’ property through legal education and direct legal services since 2005. In 2013, the center began promoting the sustainable use of land through forestry education and services to provide increased economic benefit to low-wealth family land owners. The center provides legal services and forestry services in Allendale, Bamberg, Beaufort, Berkeley, Charleston, Clarendon, Colleton, Darlington, Dorchester, Florence, Georgetown, Hampton, Horry, Jasper, Marion, Orangeburg, Sumter and Williamsburg counties.

To date, the center has provided 2,787 persons with free, one-hour “Advice and Counsel” (A&C) with 608 clients receiving direct legal services to clear title. A total of 1,168 simple wills have been drafted at free community wills clinics; more than 430 families (who collectively own in excess of 22,000 acres) have benefited from various levels of education and expert resources to develop and implement sustainable forestry management plans; and 273 titles have been cleared on family land with a total tax-assessed value of $16.3 million.

To register for the two-day event, go to https://whova.com/portal/registration/lando1_202008/ or the center’s website at www.heirsproperty.org or call us at (843)745-7055.



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