25 CFR § 15.106 - May a probate case be initiated when an owner of an interest has been absent?
(a) A probate case may be initiated when either:
(1) Information is provided to us that an owner of an interest in trust or restricted land or trust personalty has been absent without explanation for a period of at least 6 years; or
(2) We become aware of other facts or circumstances from which an inference may be drawn that the person has died.
(b) When we receive information as described in § 15.106(a), we may begin an investigation into the circumstances, and may attempt to locate the person. We may:
(1) Search available electronic databases;
(2) Inquire into other published information sources such as telephone directories and other available directories;
(3) Examine BIA land title and lease records;
(4) Examine the IIM account ledger for disbursements from the account; and
(5) Engage the services of an independent firm to conduct a search for the owner.
(c) When we have completed our investigation, if we are unable to locate the person, we may initiate a probate case and prepare a file that may include all the documentation developed in the search.
(d) We may file a claim in the probate case to recover the reasonable costs expended to contract with an independent firm to conduct the search.