Hi, I’m Christina Faucett and I’m an attorney in Washington State and today I’m going to talk about the American Indian Probate Reform Act, or AIPRA. AIPRA is the federal law that governs the descent and distribution of Native trust property. If you’re not sure what Native trust property is, I recommend that you watch my video: “What is Trust Property?” before you watch this one. AIPRA has very different rules for interstate distribution of assets than state laws, that govern the distribution of non-trust assets. For example, if you are married and have children and you die without a will in the state of Washington, much, if not all of your property will probably pass to your spouse under Washington’s community property laws. However, under AIPRA, this is not the case. Under AIPRA, your spouse will receive only one-third of the money in your IIM account, and they will only receive a life estate in your trust land. Your children will receive the rest of your estate. Also, if you die without a spouse, without children and you outlive your parents and your siblings, under AIPRA, if you die without a will, all of your trust property will go to your tribe, not your nieces and nephews, or cousins, or anyone else that you may wish to leave your property to. You can see that it’s very important that owners of trust property make a will which corresponds with their wishes for their trust property. Likewise, AIPRA imposes some restrictions on the distribution of property even if you write a will. For example, trust land cannot be devised to anyone who is not an eligible heir under AIPRA. An eligible air means someone who is either Native American, your direct descendant, or a co-owner of the trust land. Anyone who doesn’t meet one of these criteria can only receive a life estate in the land, and a person must be designated to receive the remainder of the land if you write a will. You can see that it’s very important that you plan ahead if you own trust property to make sure that your property goes to the people that you wish to have it. If you need help writing a will that complies with the requirements of AIPRA, contact me, Christina Faucett, at the number listed below.