American Indian Probate Reform Act governs the passage of Trust or Restricted lands, procured under federal authority and through a Treaty based allocation system. Like Mark Vezzola points out, navigation through the legal system is problematic when “[f]inding a lawyer to explain one’s trust land interests and draft the Will can be a challenge.” (#justicematters) Personal property within a house or the house itself must be passed to children and grandchildren separately, since only the land succession is addressed in the AIPRA.

Mark Vezzola, Directing Attorney at the California Indian Legal Services, shares his substantial knowledge with readers at the mobile friendly web-based Educational Family Estate Apps as part of its Guest Writer Series ( His article is titled, “Will Writing After AIPRA – An Overview Of Estate Planning For Trust Assets.”

What is needed when a Testator owns both Trust and non-Trust property? Mark has seen clients with two Wills, one to cover each kind of property (your Trust assets versus everything else), and others whose last will and testament includes both kinds of assets . In a state context, avoidance of probate should be priority, since it is both costly and produces needless delay. Probates of Indian trust assets can be avoided through gift deeds, otherwise estates of Indian landowners are administered by the Office of Hearings and Appeals. As a parent or grandparent, when minor children are involved it is important to know how voluntary legal Guardianship can place your mind at greater ease about the care of your family members when you can’t.