For many years, Native Americans could not pass property by creating a will. This inability to pass property through will resulted into fracturing of tribal land into many small, largely unusable sections. The American Indian Probate Reform Act of 2004 (“AIPRA”) was signed into law on October 27, 2004. AIPRA made many changes to the way trust or restricted land and property is inherited.
Probate is the process whereby a court validates a will and supervises the transfer of assets to the named heirs, or the relevant laws of intestacy under AIPRA. The provisions of AIPRA recognize a valid will executed by an Indian with some limitations.
Under the AIPRA trust or restricted property can pass to, or be inherited by, the person or persons named in a will through the probate process. When a will is drafted correctly, property can pass to your eligible heirs at probate. The probate judge will use AIPRA or a tribal probate code to determine how the specific trust or restricted land is inherited. Given the complexity of AIPRA, the restricted nature of tribal land ownership, and limited persons eligible to inherit trust property, it is advisable to seek counsel from an experienced Oklahoma tribal law attorney.
When you need an attorney to handle a native and tribal probate matter, we have the reputation, experience and knowledge to handle your case. Our attorneys will work with you to develop a comprehensive strategy for your specific case and circumstances. At our firm, every client is our most important client and your legal issue will receive the personal attention it deserves.