Tribal Government Information

The American Indian Probate Reform Act of 2004

The Act was passed by Congress October 27, 2004 and became effective June 20, 2006. The American Indian Probate Reform Act (AIPRA) changes the landscape of federal laws governing the descent, distribution and consolidation of federal trust property. The Act removes the application of state intestacy laws and creates a federal probate code. AIPRA contains provisions for voluntary and involuntary land consolidations and sales both inside and outside of probate. The Act expands tribal authority to draft tribal probate codes which may supersede provisions of the Act, and makes will drafting and estate planning for individuals important.

The attached Act (pdf) contains the statutory language and includes technical amendments passed by Congress in 2005 and 2006.

On September 24, 2007, Technical Amendments(pdf) introduced by Senators Dorgan and McCain will redefine land, change purchase options at probate and more.

The Code of Federal Regulations Implementing AIPRA

The Code of Federal Regulations (pdf) governing AIPRA provide the processes and procedures to implement the Act. The attached CFRs were published for comment on August 8, 2006, comment period to expired March 12, 2007. Final publication is pending.

Tribal Probate Codes

The Tribal Probate Code Matrix (pdf) provides brief descriptions of existing tribal probate codes, including information on their scope, provisions and web links for viewing the codes.

Examples of AIPRA Approved Tribal Probate Codes

a. Lummi Nation
b. Oglala Sioux Tribe

Department of Interior Updates

The Widdoss Report This report describes the recommended approach to be taken by BIA appraisers for trust land interests, including deep discounting in value for fractionated trust land interests.

Analysis of Widdoss Report An Article discussing application and outcomes for discounting recommended by the Widdoss Report

Tribal Leader Letter on Probate Codes March 1, 2007 DOI Letter to all Tribal Leaders announcing the Departments intention to suspend all tribal probate code review and approval until the Department develops its own model probate code.

Federal Probate Process

Judge Yellowtail’s Overview of the Federal Probate Process (pdf) — The attached presentation was given at the Institute’s AIPRA training in Rapid City, SD, July 2006

Excerpts from The Little Red Probate Book by Sally Willett© (pdf) — Materials and charts given at the Institute’s AIPRA training in Seattle, WA, March 2006

Government Publications

The following PDFs are federal government publications on The American Indian Probate Reform Act (AIPRA)

Department of Interior Brochure Notice to Landowners about AIPRA (pdf)
Department of Interior Brochure on Indian Probate (pdf)
Department of Interior Brochure on Indian Wills (pdf)
Department of Interior Brochure on Indian Tribes Historical Dates (pdf)
Department of Interior Brochure on Inventories and How to Read Them (pdf)
Department of Interior Brochure on Indian Land Consolidation Act for Rosebud Sioux (pdf)

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Downloadable PDFs

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The American Indian Probate Reform Act of 2004
Technical Amendment S. 3526
The Code of Federal Regulations
Tribal Probate Code Matrix
Lummi Nation Code of Laws Probate Code
Oglala Sioux Tribal Probate Code
Judge Yellowtail’s Overview of the Federal Probate Process
Excerpts from The Little Red Probate Book by Sally Willett©