Planning for the Passing of Reservation Lands to Future Generations
The American Indian Probate Reform Act (AIPRA) was enacted on October 27, 2004. The
Act amends the Indian Land Consolidation Act. Most sections of AIPRA that pertain
to probate became effective June 20, 2006. Technical amendments were signed into law
December 2, 2008.
AIPRA has created a uniform probate code for all reservations (except Alaska, the Five Civilized Tribes, and the Osage) across the United States. This Act will apply to all tribal and individually-owned trust lands unless the tribe has a Department of Interior approved probate code. For individuals who pass away on or after June 20, 2006, state laws will no longer determine how trust lands pass from one generation to the next.
The series of 14 fact sheets have been prepared to explain major sections of the American Indian Probate Reform Act (AIPRA). These fact sheets are made available to who individuals who want to learn more about the new law.
Funding was provided from the Community Outreach and Assistance Program, Risk Management Agency of the United States Department of Agriculture.
- Fact Sheet #1: What is AIPRA and how does it affect you?
Provides a brief summary of each of the fact sheets in the series. A chart is also included that illustrates tribal, state and federal jurisdiction on the various types of individually owned property such as IIM accounts, checking and saving accounts, vehicles, and real property. March 2009
- Fact Sheet #2: Fractionation: Inherited undivided interest
Explains how fractionation has occurred on reservations and defines undivided interest. Illustrations show the fractionation that could occur when undivided interests in trust lands are inherited by six generations of individual family members. March 2009
- Fact Sheet #3: How reservation land is owned?
Describes the typical ways individuals own reservation land: individually owned trust/ restricted land or fee status land (also known as fee simple or fee patent land). Also explained are various ways land can be titled: sole ownership, tenancy in common, and joint tenancy with right of survivorship. March 2009
- Fact Sheet #4: Your Individual Trust Interest (ITI) Report: How to read it?
Explains the meaning of the numbers and terms on an ITI report that can be obtained from a local or regional BIA office. March 2009
- Fact Sheet #5: Who is eligible to inherit your trust land and retain trust status?
Provides definitions of eligible heirs and Indian that are included in AIPRA. Heirs must meet these federal definitions to inherit land in trust status. March 2009
- Fact Sheet #6: Your undivided interests of 5% or more: What happens if you pass away
without a written will?
Describes how an undivided interest of 5% or more in an allotment is distributed to heirs depending upon marital status and presence of children. March 2009
- Fact Sheet #7: Your undivided interest of less than 5%: What happens if you pass
away without writing a will?
Describes how an undivided interest of less than 5% in an allotment is distributed under the single heir rule. March 2009
- Fact Sheet #8: What is a Life Estate?
Defines what a life estate is and the circumstances under which AIPRA requires a life estate for trust property for a surviving spouse or other heirs. March 2009
- Fact Sheet #9: Writing a will
Answers typical questions individuals have about written wills. March 2009
- Fact Sheet #10: Purchase options at probate
Provides details about the process for co-owners or the tribe, to petition the probate court to purchase trust land interests (except in Alaska, the five civilized tribes and Osage). The rules to be followed depend upon the percentage of an undivided interest your heirs are inheriting. March 2009
- Fact Sheet #11—Partitioning an allotment
Explains partitioning rules for a highly fractionated parcel under AIPRA. March 2009
- Fact Sheet #12—Ways to avoid further fractionation of reservation land
Provides ideas about ways to use tools of gifting, selling, or exchanging an undivided interest to avoid further fractionation of allotted lands. March 2009
- Fact Sheet #13—Your Individual Indian Money (IIM) account: What happens to your money
if you pass away without a written will?
Describes who will receive the money in a deceased person's IIM account (if the individual has one) should the person pass away without a written will. March 2009
- Fact Sheet #14—Definitions
Provides definitions of many of the terms that are used in the fact sheets. March 2009