• Congressman Al Lawson and CAFS students at the Farmer's Roundtable event. 
  • Harambee Festival - Learning about insects. 
  • Dr. Mbuya explaining the importance of water quality and the impacts of contamination. 
  • Goat meat cooking demonstration conducted by Cooperative Extension. 
  • CAFS Living Learning Students(LLC) students inspecting bee colonies. 

Florida Family Heirs' Property Program

Florida Family Heirs' Property  Program

Clear title "property is “one of society's most potent equity bases” (Copeland, 

1984, p. 64). 

Family Heirs' Property  

Florida A&M University in the College of Agriculture and Food Sciences through the Cooperative Extension Program offers a Family Heirs' Property (FHP) outreach, education, and technical assistance program through the Community Resource Development program area with leadership provided by Dr. Sandra Thompson. Dr. Thompson is Florida's resident expert in FHP-title clearing process.  

Program Objectives 

  • To provide training and consultation that increases knowledge and skills among FHP owners and private and public stakeholder individuals and entities about the title clearing process.   
  • To increase the number of FHP owners who clear title to their property, creating a pathway to access financial resources available through programs offered by the federal government and financial institutions. 
  • To develop and implement a viable family conflict resolution model. 
  • To facilitate development of a private/public consortium to lead state and regional public policy initiatives relative to FHP. 

Family Heirs' Property Defined 

Land, homestead, and/or other real estate passed down informally from generation to generation, creating FHP or cloudy title property, thus blocking access to the equity or surplus value inherent in property as prescribed in capitalistic societies. 

Information needed to develop a legal document (i.e., will) that transfers ownership and use right (i.e., title) to a separate piece of the decedent’s property to each heir does not exist (Norejko, 2009). 

  • Landowners who die without a will.  
  • Landowners who die with a will, but heirs are not identified. 
  • Landowners die with heirs identified, but there is insufficient language delineating each heir's inheritance as distinct from the other heirs.                                                                                                                        

As a result, FHP owners cannot identify which piece of the inherited property they own; i.e., the title (ownership/use rights) to the property is ambiguous thus preventing heirs from reaping the financial benefits normally available to private property owners in the United States (U.S.). 

Given the above circumstance, state law provides that FHP owners (legal and rightful) “inherit an undivided, fractional ownership interest in the land, because each co-owner has an individual, partial interest in the whole” (Thomas et al., 2004, para. 4).

  • Succinctly, ownership and use right to FHP is ambiguous preventing its use as a wealth-building tool, which is inconsistent with the economic purpose of property in the US (DeWeese, 2012; Norejko, 2009; Hamilton, 2009). 

The origin of FHP in the United States 

The United States of America in 1865 (end of civil war) did not develop an accountable and just process for millions of freed slaves to acquire and record their newly acquired property (Breitenbach, 2015; Hamilton, 2009; Copeland, 1984, 2005).  The practice of FHP is further attributed to retention of the West African view that people do not own land, but the land (mother earth) owns the people (Mistingette, 2011).