AIPRA and Estate Planning

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Montana State University
FRTEP - 1862

This article seeks to provide information about the American Indian Probate Reform (AIPRA) Act of 2004 and the AIPRA Fact Sheets.

The AIPRA Act applies to all individually owned trust lands unless a tribe
has its own probate code that has been approved by the Department of
Interior.  None of the seven reservations in Montana have a DOI
approved probate code for trust lands.
A series of 14 fact
sheets that highlight the new federal law have been developed by
Montana State University faculty Marsha Goetting, Extension Family
Economics Specialist and Kristin Ruppel, Department of Native American
Studies.  The fact sheets highlight many issues such as the
fractionation problem on reservations; the typical ways individuals own
reservation land; the meaning of some of the numbers and terms on
Individual Trust Interest (ITI) reports; the AIPRA definition of
eligible heirs and Indian; how trust property is distributed to heirs
under different rules depending upon whether the undivided interests
are five percent or more or less than five percent; circumstances where
a beneficiary can only receive a life estate; and the rules for the
division of Individual Indian Money accounts to heirs.