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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina lawmakers are reviewing stronger protections for heirs' property - generally property handed down by blacks without a will, often since slavery.

Such land often ends up being owned by dozens of people without clear title. If someone wants to get their value from the land, the only way to split it is to auction the property.

But an heirs' property bill in the state Senate would allow judges to consider more than just its dollar value. They could weigh whether the land has sentimental value to a co-owner and whether it can be divided so part can remain in the family.

If descendants can't reach an agreement the law would allow the land to be sold on the open market, rather than auctioned for a generally lower price.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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