The LSU Law Center announced on Wednesday the formation of a Successions/Title Clearing Clinic to help homeowners affected by the August 2016 flood and who are in need of legal assistance to collect federal recovery money.
A recurring challenge that communities face in the wake of natural disasters is that many homeowners—particularly low income homeowners—do not possess clear title to their homes. Although they may own the homes from a legal standpoint, public records do not list them as owners, as oftentimes homes are passed down through generations without a formal succession/probate proceeding ever being opened.
The historic flooding this fall has highlighted this problem as homeowners are unable to receive money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) without a proper home title.
LSU Law is looking to ease that problem with help from the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, Southeast Louisiana Legal Services, Southern University Law Center, Baton Rouge Bar Association and other legal organizations in Baton Rouge and around the state.
Starting January, LSU Law will offer a Successions/Title Clearing Clinic where students will learn how to open, administer and close succession proceedings in order to obtain clear title to real estate. The clinic, which is open to third-year law students, will be taught by LSU Law Professor Elizabeth Carter, and students will do the legal work under the supervision of an attorney to be hired at SLLS.
“By working with individuals and families to help gain titles to their homes, our students are not only learning effective legal skills, but also upon graduation, they can continue this important work,” said Bob Lancaster, LSU Law professor and head of the LSU Clinics.
The Successions/Title Clearing Clinic will be funded by a grant BRAF recently received from the Kellogg Foundation to address the title problems so that people can remain in their homes and receive the funding and assistance they need to rebuild. The grant provides for all funding and resources needed to operate this clinic, and SLLS will use those grant funds to hire an attorney to supervise LSU Clinic students.
Class size will generally be limited to 4-6 students per semester. LSU Law students interested in applying to the Successions/Title Clearing Clinic may contact LSU Law Clinic Coordinator Brenda Salassi.
Those seeking legal help with their home titles are encouraged to apply for assistance online or by calling 1-844-244-7871.