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What Is AIPRA?

What is the American Indian Probate Reform Act of 2004 (AIPRA)?  This Act creates a new Federal probate law that changes the way trust estates are distributed to heirs after a beneficiary's death.  This increases the importance and benefits of estate planning so the beneficiary can determine who inherits his/her assets.  The Act was signed into law on October 27, 2004; most provisions went into effect June 20, 2006.
What is the purpose of AIPRA?  One of the main purposes of AIPRA is to preserve the trust status of Indian lands and to reduce the number of small-fractionated interests.  It offers an opportunity for individuals to determine how and when they want to distribute their trust assets.  Through estate planning, individuals may wish to create a will or sell, transfer or otherwise consolidate their interests in trust or restricted land.  If an individual does not have a will or estate plan, his/her assets will be distributed after death according to Federal or tribal laws.  Where can beneficiaries get additional information?
Beneficiaries can call the Trust Beneficiary Call Center at (888) 678-6836 or contact a Fiduciary Trust Officer at the following locations: 
Palm Springs Agency, Palm Springs, CA: (760) 416-4167 x257 
Pacific Region, Sacramento, CA: (916) 978-6047 
What is the ILCA?
Congress enacted the Indian Land Consolidation Act (ILCA) in 1983 and substantially amended it in 1984 and 2000.  ILCA has largely been superseded by AIPRA in 2004.  Some of the more important provisions of ILCA to address the fractionation of land on reservations are: 
  1. Authorized tribes to develop land consolidation plans, which could include the buying, selling, and trading of fractionated interests.
  2. Authorized tribes to enact laws, which restrict the Rights of non-Indians or non-members to inherit trust or restricted lands on their reservations.