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Wills and Probate in Indian Country



Tribal governments possess the inherent power to exercise jurisdiction over estate settlements of their deceased members. But because of the federal government’s involvement in assets held in trust and state governments’ infringement in non-trust assets, tribes do not always assert their jurisdictional authority.

This comprehensive program covers all aspects of probate, from the federal government’s role in handling trust assets to state probate issues to the procedures that tribes can implement to assume jurisdiction. We’ll also discuss the Cobell v. Norton case and what happens to trust payments when tribal members are deceased.

Don’t miss this opportunity to gain an important wealth of knowledge. Register today!


T O P I C S   I N C L U D E
Federal Law
  • 25 CFR, Chapt. 24, Sect. 2205:
    • Tribal probate codes
    • Acquisition of fractional interests by tribes
Authority of the Tribal Court
  • Establishing a tribal code
  • State/tribal agreements
  • Resolving disputes
  • Probate process
Definitions
  • Survivorship
  • Joint tenancy
  • Testate
  • Intestate
  • Heirship
  • Tenancy in common
Probate
  • What is “probate?”
  • Identifying property
  • Role of the court
  • What assets are exempt?
  • Living trust
  • Benefits of probate
  • Drawbacks of probate
  • Establishing a probate code
Bureau of Indian Affairs
  • Where does the BIA fit into the probate process?
Land/Trust Issues
  • Cobell v. Norton:
    • Fractionated land
    • The Trust Land Consolidation
      Fund
  • Checkerboard reservations
Settlement of Trust Estates
  • 43 CFR, Part 4:
    • Tribal purchase of certain property
    • Authority of the administrative law judge
    • Escheat
    • Renunciation of interest
    • Notice
    • Depositions
    • Pre-hearing conference
    • Proof of wills
    • Proof of claims
    • Felonious taking of testator’s life
    • Distribution
Tribal Code
  • What it should include
  • Taxing the estate
  • Off-reservation assets
  • Trust assets
  • Credit against federal estate tax
  • Administrative hearings
  • Non-trust assets
  • Per capita payment issues:
    • Indian and non-Indian marriage and divorce
Tribal and State Agreements
  • On-reservation members
  • On-reservation nonmembers
  • Location of assets
  • Tribal jurisdiction
  • Avoiding state probate
  • Ancillary jurisdiction
  • Primary jurisdiction

*Topics subject to change.

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