Estate planning is a process that may include the writing of a will, a gift deed, land consolidation, etc. and takes into account all your real, personal, and trust property.

Estate planning allows you to come up with a plan on how your property will pass to others once you are gone.

Help Stop The Division of Trust Allotments!

When a trust landowner passes away, the land is often split among many relatives into small shares, causing “fractionation” of the land. After many generations, some allotments have hundreds of co-owners. This makes it hard for the owners to use the land and any profits from the land must be split.


If You Choose to Do Estate Planning And Make A Will

• You control how your land and personal property is passed on.
• You have the power to name a guardian for your children.
• You are able to name the person in charge of your estate.
• You can stop the fractionation of Indian trust land by leaving it to one person or many, if it is as joint tenants with the right of survivorship.

If You Don’t Do Estate Planning

• Trust land will continue to fractionate
• A stranger will decide who will get your property

Please Bring The Following With You For An Estate Plan

• Name and addresses of family you to leave property to.
• List of personal property and who you will give it to.
• Inventory of Trust property (ITI), contact your local BIA Agency—Real Property Mgmt.
• Individual Indian Money Account info. (IIM) – contact your local Office of The Special Trustee, if your tribe has one.
• Guardianship/Adoption papers
• Fee land, need copies of the deeds

Will Storage Options

• Keep your Will with other important papers.
• Store it in a safety deposit box at your local bank (around $15 per year).
• Keep it in a fire proof safe (also flood proof).
• Keep in a weatherproof gun case.
• Ask someone you trust to keep it.
• Regardless of where you choose to store your will, you should keep a record of where it is stored.
• Also remember to inform your personal representative and family where the will is stored.


The BIA is no longer writing, approving, or storing wills. It is up to you. To assist you, Legal Services of North Dakota (LSND) provides FREE Will drafting to eligible trust land owners.

Please bring all your paperwork on your land and personal property when you meet with LSND.

Who Do I Contact With Additional Questions?

Seniors 60 and over Call:

Others Call:

You may apply for legal services by completing our online website application.