(PHILADELPHIA) October 25, 2021 – Today, Councilmember Katherine Gilmore Richardson’s bill to require funeral services organizations to share information about probating estates and avoiding tangled titles passed out of the Committee on Commerce and Economic Development. According to recent research from Pew, Philadelphia has at least 10,407 tangled titles, and half of these titles became tangled within the last decade. The vast majority of these tangled titles result from heirs not acting after the record owner of a property dies.
“Over a billion dollars in generational wealth is currently caught up in tangled titles and that is a low estimate,” said Councilmember Gilmore Richardson (At-Large). “Thousands of Philadelphians have struggled to gain title to a family home, including me. By providing information about probating estates with death certificates, we can help prevent future tangled titles. Most Philadelphians do not know they need to probate estates, so by working directly with funeral services providers, we will be reaching people earlier and removing a significant barrier in the process. Thank you to my colleagues for their support.”
The Bill is supported by business owners and legal services advocates.
“One of the most time-consuming discussions during the arrangement conference is to explain the difference in death certificates, short certificates, Register of Wills and other estate questions. Families are not educated about probate issues…I support Bill No. 210671 introduced by Councilmember Katherine Gilmore Richardson,” said Ervina White Beauford, Owner, Ervina White Beauford Funeral Service.
“Time is not on our side when it comes to tangled title issues. With every year that passes, it becomes more complicated and less feasible to sort out the title issue – family members move or pass away, documentation gets lost, and memories fade,” said Kelly Gastley, Esq., Managing Attorney, Philadelphia VIP. “The lesson here is clear – as with every epidemic, we cannot simply resolve the title issues that already exist and hope that we will “catch up” to the problem. The magnitude of this problem makes clear that reality is not feasible. Instead, we must make deliberate moves to stem the tide – and this Bill does that.”
The Tangled Title Information Sheet Bill will receive first reading during Philadelphia City Council’s Stated Meeting on Thursday, October 28.
In addition to the hearing on Bill No. 210671, the Committee on Commerce and Economic Development heard testimony from leading film industry executives, business owners, and labor representatives on the economic impact of the Greater Philadelphia Film Office. Councilmember Gilmore Richardson introduced Resolution No. 210643, calling for this hearing after the Film Office’s city funding was not restored in the FY22 budget.
“The Greater Philadelphia Film Office is crucial the ongoing existence of Philadelphia’s thriving film businesses,” said Councilmember Katherine Gilmore Richardson. “Hundreds of businesses and jobs are at stake. We must reinstate support for the Greater Philadelphia Film Office.”