USDA Announces First Lenders for Heirs’ Property Relending Program

August 25, 2022

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that Akiptan, Inc., the Cherokee Nation Economic Development Trust Authority (CNEDTA) and the Shared Capital Cooperative have been approved or conditionally approved as intermediary lenders through the Heirs’ Property Relending Program (HPRP).

Once HPRP loans with these lenders close, these lenders will help agricultural producers and landowners resolve heirs’ land ownership and succession issues. Additionally, USDA encourages more intermediary lenders, including cooperatives, credit unions and nonprofit organizations to apply. Currently, more than $100 million of HPRP funding is available for these competitive loans.

Heirs’ property is family land that has been passed down to descendants without a will or deed to prove ownership. Without proof of ownership, it may become difficult for heirs to obtain federal benefits for farms and could force partition sales by third parties. Heirs’ property issues have long been a barrier for many producers and landowners to access USDA programs and services, and this relending program provides access to capital to help heirs find a resolution.

“Through this opportunity, heirs can formalize land ownership and succession issues, which have long prevented so many from accessing USDA programs and services,” said Zach Ducheneaux, Administrator of USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA). “USDA is committed to revising policies to be more equitable and this program is an instrumental part of the effort to provide opportunities to bring and keep agricultural land in agriculture and allow producers nationwide to create generational wealth.”

Relending to Heirs

HPRP intermediary lenders will reloan funds to eligible heirs to resolve title issues by financing the purchase or consolidation of property interests and financing costs associated with a succession plan. This may also include costs and fees associated with buying out fractional interests of other heirs in jointly owned property to clear the title, as well as closing costs, appraisals, title searches, surveys, preparing documents, mediation and legal services.

Who is Eligible?

Intermediary lenders may make loans to heirs who:

  • Are individuals or legal entities with authority to incur the debt and to resolve ownership and succession of a farm owned by multiple owners
  • Are a family member or heir-at-law related by blood or marriage to the previous owner of the property
  • Agree to complete a succession plan

These are loans (not grants) and will need to be paid back at interest rates set by the lenders.

Heirs may not use loans for any land improvement, development purpose, acquisition or repair of buildings, acquisition of personal property, payment of operating costs, payment of finders’ fees, or similar costs.

ALTA’s Efforts

An ALTA State Legislative and Regulatory Action Committee Work Group meets regularly to discuss the various ways industry and government can address the issue of heirs’ property. The group is discussing questions like how to quantify heirs’ property, how to better leverage estate planning tools and resources, as well as expanding access to programs and services for those with heirs’ property. 

ALTA has endorsed the Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act (UPHPA). UPHPA has now been enacted in 22 states and was introduced in nine states during 2022 state legislative sessions. This year, the model legislation was enacted in Utah, Tennessee and Maryland. Currently, ALTA is an observer in the Uniform Law Commission’s (ULC) Tenancy in Common drafting work group. The final model legislation produced will be a companion to UPHPA.

Contact ALTA at 202-296-3671 or

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