Heirs Property, Speaking of the Economy

“Whose Land Is It?” Heirs’ Property and Losses in Intergenerational Wealth

CRLC’s Executive Director Parker Agelasto spoke with Surekha Carpenter, a research analyst at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond on her podcast “Speaking of the Economy,” along with Ebonie Alexander, the executive director of the Black Family Land Trust.

They discussed heirs property rights and how CRLC’s work reforming heirs property law has improved the legal landscape for African American landowners, who have historically lost family property due to heirs property law.

Property ownership has been a way for Americans to build wealth. Therefore, any loss in property rights when they’re transferred between generations can contribute to the creation and widening of wealth gaps. Scholars who’ve studied heirs’ property have argued that it’s contributed to the racial wealth gap we experience today. In the Fifth District and in much of the South, this problem has resulted in substantial loss of both wealth and land that has hampered economic opportunity for many families.

Explore the impacts of heirs’ property by listening to “Speaking of the Economy” podcast, Episode 41, which aired November 23rd, 2021. You can also read more about this work at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.