25 CFR § 15.2 - What definitions do I need to know?

§ 15.2 What definitions do I need to know?

Act means the Indian Land Consolidation Act and its amendments, including the American Indian Probate Reform Act of 2004 (AIPRA), Pub. L. 108–374, as codified at 25 U.S.C. 2201 et seq.

Administrative law judge (ALJ) means an administrative law judge with the Office of Hearings and Appeals appointed under the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. 3105.

Affidavit means a written declaration of facts by a person that is signed by that person, swearing or affirming under penalty of perjury that the facts declared are true and correct to the best of that person's knowledge and belief.

Agency means:

(1) The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) agency office, or any other designated office in BIA, having jurisdiction over trust or restricted land and trust personalty; and

(2) Any office of a tribe that has entered into a contract or compact to fulfill the probate function under 25 U.S.C. 450f or 458cc.

Attorney Decision Maker (ADM) means an attorney with OHA who conducts a summary probate proceeding and renders a decision that is subject to de novo review by an administrative law judge or Indian probate judge.

BIA means the Bureau of Indian Affairs within the Department of the Interior.

Child means a natural or adopted child.

Codicil means a supplement or addition to a will, executed with the same formalities as a will. It may explain, modify, add to, or revoke provisions in an existing will.

Consolidation agreement means a written agreement under the provisions of 25 U.S.C. 2206(e) or 2206(j)(9), entered during the probate process, approved by the judge, and implemented by the probate order, by which a decedent's heirs and devisees consolidate interests in trust or restricted land.

Creditor means any individual or entity that has a claim for payment from a decedent's estate.

Day means a calendar day.

Decedent means a person who is deceased.

Decision or order (or decision and order) means:

(1) A written document issued by a judge making determinations as to heirs, wills, devisees, and the claims of creditors, and ordering distribution of trust or restricted land or trust personalty;

(2) The decision issued by an attorney decision maker in a summary probate proceeding; or

(3) A decision issued by a judge finding that the evidence is insufficient to determine that a person is dead by reason of unexplained absence.

Department means the Department of the Interior.

Devise means a gift of property by will. Also, to give property by will.

Devisee means a person or entity that receives property under a will.

Eligible heir means, for the purposes of the Act, any of a decedent's children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, full siblings, half siblings by blood, and parents who are any of the following:

(1) Indian;

(2) Lineal descendents within two degrees of consanguinity of an Indian; or

(3) Owners of a trust or restricted interest in a parcel of land for purposes of inheriting—by descent, renunciation, or consolidation agreement—another trust or restricted interest in such parcel from the decedent.

Estate means the trust or restricted land and trust personalty owned by the decedent at the time of death.

Formal probate proceeding means a proceeding, conducted by a judge, in which evidence is obtained through the testimony of witnesses and the receipt of relevant documents.

Heir means any individual or entity eligible to receive property from a decedent in an intestate proceeding.

Individual Indian Money (IIM) account means an interest bearing account for trust funds held by the Secretary that belong to a person who has an interest in trust assets. These accounts are under the control and management of the Secretary.

Indian means, for the purposes of the Act, any of the following:

(1) Any person who is a member of a federally recognized Indian tribe is eligible to become a member of any federally recognized Indian tribe, or is an owner (as of October 27, 2004) of a trust or restricted interest in land;

(2) Any person meeting the definition of Indian under 25 U.S.C. 479; or

(3) With respect to the inheritance and ownership of trust or restricted land in the State of California under 25 U.S.C. 2206, any person described in paragraph (1) or (2) of this definition or any person who owns a trust or restricted interest in a parcel of such land in that State.

Indian probate judge (IPJ) means an attorney with OHA, other than an ALJ, to whom the Secretary has delegated the authority to hear and decide Indian probate cases.

Interested party means:

(1) Any potential or actual heir;

(2) Any devisee under a will;

(3) Any person or entity asserting a claim against a decedent's estate;

(4) Any tribe having a statutory option to purchase the trust or restricted property interest of a decedent; or

(5) A co-owner exercising a purchase option.

Intestate means that the decedent died without a valid will as determined in the probate proceeding.

Judge means an ALJ or IPJ.

Lockbox means a centralized system within OST for receiving and depositing trust fund remittances collected by BIA.

LTRO means the Land Titles and Records Office within BIA.

OHA means the Office of Hearings and Appeals within the Department of the Interior.

OST means the Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians within the Department of the Interior.

Probate means the legal process by which applicable tribal, Federal, or State law that affects the distribution of a decedent's estate is applied in order to:

(1) Determine the heirs;

(2) Determine the validity of wills and determine devisees;

(3) Determine whether claims against the estate will be paid from trust personalty; and

(4) Order the transfer of any trust or restricted land or trust personalty to the heirs, devisees, or other persons or entities entitled by law to receive them.

Purchase option at probate means the process by which eligible purchasers can purchase a decedent's interest during the probate proceeding.

Restricted property means real property, the title to which is held by an Indian but which cannot be alienated or encumbered without the Secretary's consent. For the purpose of probate proceedings, restricted property is treated as if it were trust property. Except as the law may provide otherwise, the term “restricted property” as used in this part does not include the restricted lands of the Five Civilized Tribes of Oklahoma or the Osage Nation.

Secretary means the Secretary of the Interior or an authorized representative.

Summary probate proceeding means the consideration of a probate file without a hearing. A summary probate proceeding may be conducted if the estate involves only an IIM account that did not exceed $5,000 in value on the date of the decedent's death.

Superintendent means a BIA Superintendent or other BIA official, including a field representative or one holding equivalent authority.

Testate means that the decedent executed a valid will as determined in the probate proceeding.

Testator means a person who has executed a valid will as determined in the probate proceeding.

Trust personalty means all tangible personal property, funds, and securities of any kind that are held in trust in an IIM account or otherwise supervised by the Secretary.

Trust property means real or personal property, or an interest therein, the title to which is held in trust by the United States for the benefit of an individual Indian or tribe.

We or us means the Secretary, an authorized representative of the Secretary, or the authorized employee or representative of a tribe performing probate functions under a contract or compact approved by the Secretary.

Will means a written testamentary document that was executed by the decedent and attested to by two disinterested adult witnesses, and that states who will receive the decedent's trust or restricted property.

You or I means an interested party, as defined herein, with an interest in the decedent's estate unless the context requires otherwise.

[73 FR 67278, Nov. 13, 2008, as amended at 76 FR 7505, Feb. 10, 2011]