Trust Assets and Probate
AIPRA is a federal law that sets forth the rules for probating (distributing) Indians who have a trust asset such as an allotment (or allotment interest) and/or Individual Indian Money (IIM) accounts. This guide provides information on AIPRA and how that law affects the distribution of Indian trust assets when the Indian passes away with or without a Will. For information on what happens when an Indian person passes away, please see our “Probate Process for Native Americans” handout.
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 do so 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?”
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 primarily discusses the federal probate process 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.