New Year

CILS wishes everyone a happy & safe 2012!


Foreclosure Crisis

Info for those with foreclosure issues


Foreclosures continue to affect large populations. The links below direct you to websites where you will find a variety of foreclosure-related information and services. Most services and resources are free. CalHFA Mortgage Assistance Corporation maintains a “Keep Your Home California” Program to assist low and modest-income familes stay in their homes. For homeowners whose mortgage servicing company has an agreement with CALHFA MAC (CAL HFA Mortgage Assistance Corporation). A homeowner cannot receive assistance through this program if their servicer has not signed an agreement with CalHFA MAC. Check on for a list of participating servicers. This is the main portal to the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s information to avoid foreclosure. Provides links and descriptions to various federal housing relief programs. This site is maintained by the federal government and provides tools to assist homeowners in locating appropriate home loans. Contact information for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) loan counselors is also easily accessible from this site. Additional general mortgage resources and links are also available. This premier and well-known website continues to provide Californians with both referrals and self-help resources in the areas of foreclosure prevention, homeownership and predatory lending.

For California tenants whose landlords are being foreclosed upon visit the Tenants Together foreclosure webpage.

Note: California is not participating in Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Emergency Homeowner Loan Program (EHLP) Program.

In addition, Congress passed the “Helping Expedite and Advance Responsible Tribal Homeownership Act” (HEARTH). This law promises to reform Federal leasing requirements and encourage housing and community development in Native American communities. See National American Indian Housing Council’s website for more info.

Cultural Resources

What Should I Do if I Find Native American Human Remains, Artifacts, or Other Cultural Resources on My Private Property? (basic information for private landowners regarding their duties when locating Native American artifacts or human remains upon their property.)

This guide explains defines cultural resources and provides a summary of the law for landowners who find such cultural resources on their private property. The guide also provides additional reading resources and state goverment contact information.

For other information please see the California Native American Heritage Comimission’s website at:

Indian Taxation

1. State Income Tax and Native Americans. Provides a broad overview of common issues encountered by Native Americans with regards to California state income taxes.

This guide offers a broad overview of the current state taxation laws for individuals. Your individual circumstances must be taken into consideration before you can be sure that your income is exempt from state tax, so we cannot guarantee that the information in this guide will apply to your personal situation. The guide also contains a short explanation on the impact of the health care coverage laws upon individual income tax returns.

Trust Assets and Probate

1. What is the American Indian Probate Reform Act (AIPRA)?(pdf)
(Guide to understand the effect of the AIPRA for those with or without a Will)

This guide provides information on the American Indian Probate Reform Act (also known as “AIPRA”) and how that law affects Indian trust lands (or allotments). While this guide does not focus specifically on Estate Planning or Wills, it does provide important information for people who own trust lands (allottees) about Estate Planning for their property. For information on what happens when an Indian person passes away, please see our “Probate Process for Native Americans” handout.

2. Respecting Your Wishes: Estate Planning for California Native Americans (pdf)
(This guide is designed to help you understand the basics of estate planning)

This guide is designed to help you understand the basics of estate planning but it is not meant as a comprehensive guide. When reading this guide for the first time, please read the guide from the beginning to end in order to best understand the information. It is important to note that if you are specifically looking for information on Indian Wills or the American Indian Probate Reform Act (AIPRA) then see our handout entitled, “What is the AIPRA?”

3. Probate Process for Native Americans (pdf)
(Basic guide to understanding the federal and state probate process for Indians)

This guide answers some of the most frequently asked questions about probate that you may have after an Indian loved one passes away. This guide does not focus upon Estate Planning or Wills. If you have questions regarding Indian Wills, please see our handout entitled, “What is the AIPRA?” This guide focuses on situations where the person who passed away had land in his or her name. Specifically the guide examines the situation where a person died who had interest in “trust” land (on a reservation or public domain allotment). This guide primarily discusses probates handled through the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Office of Hearings and Appeals. It does not focus upon the state court system. Probate is a complicated area of law. This guide is only an introduction to the probate process.