Philadelphia Council passes legislation to fight tangled titles

The city's register of wills created the PDI, the Probate Deferment initiative.

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — New legislation from Philadelphia City Council is now on the books to help families struggling with tangled titles.

The city is suffering from another sort of epidemic during the current pandemic, according to Register of Wills Tracy Gordon.

Tangled titles occur when a home is occupied by a family where a relative who owned the house died, but didn’t will the house to a designated family member. The title then remains in the dead person’s name.

Gordon's office helped create an assistance program called PDI, the Probate Deferment initiative.

"We assisted in untangling 14 tangled titles in a very shor time," said Gordon.

That grabbed the attention of City Council.

"Katherine Gilmore Richardson and [other] City Council members passed legislation that includes estate preparation guides for families to address what they are to do should someone die in their family," Gordon said.

This means families get the education on the importance of making a will to prevent tangled titles, at the time they need it most.

"Now, there is a requirement that funeral homes and cemeteries offer each family information regarding what the Register of Wills does," said Gordon.

Her goal for 2022, as she put it, is to "scale the program up, and what we want to do is develop a tangled tiles unit focusing on this task."

Click here for more on the Philadelphia Tangled Title program.

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