Posted below is a recorded Introduction and overview for Heirs of the Estate.
How much land is included in the historic Charles and Polly Ann Hicks estate?
There are three (3) parcels of land totaling approximately 10 acres (including the church and cemetery).
Who currently owns the land included in the Hicks estate?
It’s Heirs Property.
Although the original heirs (six surviving children of Charles and Polly Ann Hicks) unanimously agreed to Quitclaim deed the church and cemetery property to the Jordan Stream church; the church was never formed as a legal entity, thus, the church was unable to own any property. The church property, including the cemetery, is considered heirs property.
In 1982 Alberta Hicks (one of the six surviving children of Charles and Polly Ann) passed away and mysteriously her will was never found. Having never been married or given birth to any children, her two parcels (approximately 8.2 acres) is also deemed heirs property.
What is Heirs property?
How many heirs are involved in the Hicks estate?
There are currently over 100 heirs involved in this effort. See Family Trees on the About The Hicks page for an illustration.
How much is the land worth?
Because of the number of heirs, the small size (and condition) of the parcels, the amount of previous tax expenditures and the high cost of legal fees, the estate does not offer any monetary value. However, anyone reading about the rich legacy of Charles and Polly Ann Hicks, should agree this project is priceless.
How much are the annual taxes on heirs property?
Albertha Hicks passed in 1982. The amount due for tax year 2018 is $612.33; total taxes paid to date: $15,246.18.
Are there any taxes due on the church property?
No. Currently the church is tax exempt. Although services have been suspended, the church has not been shut down.
Can we sell the land and split the money?
It would not be wise and close to impossible to sell the church and cemetery, thus leaving approximately 8.2 acres of wooded land in very poor condition for the market. If the land was sold for a generous amount of $3,000 per acre, that would only generate less than $25,000. Because of the number of heirs involved, the amount of previous tax expenditures and the high cost of legal fees because there is no clear title, the estate does not offer any monetary value. However, the rich legacy of Charles and Polly Ann Hicks warrant our efforts to preserve it and should be considered priceless.
Who has been taking care of the land?
A couple of family members occupied Alberta Hicks’ house the immediate yeas after her passing in 1982, but the house has since been abandoned, completely rotted out and the land overgrown with wild vegetation. The taxes have been paid by family members Thomas Jones and Beatrice Bogle.
Due to changing economic conditions and societal norms, the membership of the Jordan Stream church has steadily declined since the early 1960's. In February 2018, services were suspended indefinitely due to an insufficient number of active members to sustain normal operations. As a result, the resources needed to provide perpetual care to the church cemetery were no longer available.
Why should we do anything about it now?
Experts from the Saving Graves - Cemetery Preservation Alliance, say “You need to think 20, 50 years down the road – are you still going to find the Jordan Stream cemetery or any of the graves?” They also say “If you don’t take care of them now, there will become a time where it’s too late." See the “In the News” section of the Crisis page for stories about the risks of inaction.
What will happen if we don’t do anything about it?
On two separate occasions, the land has been posted for auction by the county for nonpayment of taxes. Also, See the “In the News” section of the Crisis page for stories about the risks of inaction.
Will the Government help take care of the property (especially the cemetery) and protect it?
There is no governmental agency nor any state or county funds available for maintenance or protection from overzealous real estate developers.
There are reports that suggests approximately 10% to 25% of the properties in Georgia’s 159 counties are probable heirs property.
Is the Charles Hicks estate or Charles Hicks’ grave considered a National Historic Landmark?
Although there are many references of Charles Hicks in the official archives of Georgia, his grave nor his estate has been recorded in the National Historic Landmarks catalog. As part of this Preservation Initiative, the Charles and Polly Ann Hicks Preserve, LLC will take steps necessary to ensure Charles Hicks' grave be registered as a National Historic Landmark.
What options do we have to preserve the land?
Please see “Our Plan” on the Hicks Preserve page of this site for details of the plan and expected outcome of our efforts.
What can I possibly do to help?
Please see the “Duties and Responsibilities” on the Hicks Preserve page of this site for a detailed outline of ways everyone can help with this sacred effort.
How long will it take to resolve this matter?
Court proceedings are uncertain and out of our immediate control, however we are aiming to have 100% family member registration and transfer of interest commitments complete by June 15, 2019. See the date of the original purchase by Charles and Polly Ann on the About the Hickses page for the significance of June 15th.
Who will own the land if I participate?