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e-CFR data is current as of September 28, 2020

Title 25Chapter ISubchapter BPart 11 → Subpart G


Title 25: Indians
PART 11—COURTS OF INDIAN OFFENSES AND LAW AND ORDER CODE


Subpart G—Probate Proceedings


Contents
§11.700   Probate jurisdiction.
§11.701   Duty to present will for probate.
§11.702   Proving and admitting will.
§11.703   Petition and order to probate estate.
§11.704   Appointment and duties of executor or administrator.
§11.705   Removal of executor or administrator.
§11.706   Appointment and duties of appraiser.
§11.707   Claims against estate.
§11.708   Sale of property.
§11.709   Final account.
§11.710   Determination of the court.
§11.711   Descent and distribution.
§11.712   Closing estate.
§11.713   Small estates.

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§11.700   Probate jurisdiction.

The Court of Indian Offenses shall have jurisdiction to administer in probate the estate of a deceased Indian who, at the time of his or her death, was domiciled or owned real or personal property situated within the Indian country under the jurisdiction of the court to the extent that such estate consists of property which does not come within the jurisdiction of the Secretary of the Interior.

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§11.701   Duty to present will for probate.

Any custodian of a will shall deliver the same to the Court of Indian Offenses within 30 days after receipt of information that the maker thereof is deceased. Any custodian who fails to do so shall be liable for damages sustained by any person injured thereby.

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§11.702   Proving and admitting will.

(a) Upon initiating the probate of an estate, the will of the decedent shall be filed with the court. Such will may be proven and admitted to probate by filing an affidavit of an attesting witness which identifies such will as being the will which the decedent executed and declared to be his or her last will. If the evidence of none of the attesting witnesses is available, the court may allow proof of the will by testimony that the signature of the testator is genuine.

(b) At any time within 90 days after a will has been admitted to probate, any person having an interest in the decedent's estate may contest the validity of such will. In the event of such contest, a hearing shall be held to determine the validity of such will.

(c) Upon considering all relevant information concerning the will, the Court of Indian Offenses shall enter an order affirming the admission of such will to probate, or rejecting such will and ordering that the probate of the decedent's estate proceed as if the decedent had died intestate.

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§11.703   Petition and order to probate estate.

(a) Any person having an interest in the administration of an estate which is subject to the jurisdiction of the court may file a written petition with the court requesting that such estate be administered in probate.

(b) The Court of Indian Offenses shall enter an order directing that the estate be probated upon finding that the decedent was an Indian who, at the time of his or her death, was domiciled or owned real or personal property situated within the Indian country under the jurisdiction of the court other than trust or other restricted property, that the decedent left an estate subject to the jurisdiction of the court, and that it is necessary to probate such estate.

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§11.704   Appointment and duties of executor or administrator.

(a) Upon ordering the estate to be probated, the court shall appoint an administrator to administer the estate of the decedent. The person nominated by the decedent's will, if any, to be the executor of the estate shall be so appointed, provided such person is willing to serve in such capacity.

(b) The executor or administrator appointed by the court shall have the following duties and powers during the administration of the estate and until discharged by the court:

(1) To send by certified mail true copies of the order to probate the estate and the will of the decedent admitted to probate by such order, if any, to each heir, devisee and legatee of the decedent, at their last known address, to the governing body of the tribe or tribes occupying the Indian country over which the court has jurisdiction, and to the agency superintendent;

(2) To preserve and protect the decedent's property within the estate and the heirs, so far as is possible;

(3) To investigate promptly all claims against the decedent's estate and determine their validity;

(4) To cause a written inventory of all the decedent's property within the estate to be prepared promptly with each article or item being separately set forth and cause such property to be exhibited to and appraised by an appraiser, and the inventory and appraisal thereof to be filed with the court;

(5) To give promptly all persons entitled thereto such notice as is required under these proceedings;

(6) To account for all property within the estate which may come into his or her possession or control, and to maintain accurate records of all income received and disbursements made during the course of the administration.

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§11.705   Removal of executor or administrator.

The Court of Indian Offenses may order the executor or administrator to show cause why he or she should not be discharged, and may discharge the executor or administrator for failure, neglect or improper performance of his or her duties.

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§11.706   Appointment and duties of appraiser.

(a) Upon ordering an estate to be probated, the court shall appoint a disinterested and competent person as an appraiser to appraise all of the decedent's real and personal property within the estate.

(b) It shall be the duty of the appraiser to appraise separately the true cash value of each article or item of property within the estate, including debts due the decedent, and to indicate the appraised value of each such article or item of property set forth in the inventory of the estate and to certify such appraisal by subscribing his or her name to the inventory and appraisal.

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§11.707   Claims against estate.

(a) Creditors of the estate or those having a claim against the decedent shall file their claim with the clerk of the court or with the executor or administrator within 60 days from official notice of the appointment of the executor or administrator published locally in the press or posting of signs at the tribal and agency offices, giving appropriate notice for the filing of claims.

(b) The executor or administrator shall examine all claims within 90 days of his or her appointment and notify the claimant whether his or her claim is accepted or rejected. If the claimant is notified of rejection, he or she may request a hearing before the court by filing a petition requesting such hearing within 30 days following the notice of rejection.

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§11.708   Sale of property.

After filing the inventory and appraisal, the executor or administrator may petition the court for authority to sell personal property of the estate for purposes of paying the expenses of last illness and burial expenses, expenses of administration, claims, if any, against the estate, and for the purpose of distribution. If, in the court's judgment, such sale is in the best interest of the estate, the court shall order such sale and prescribe the terms upon which the property shall be sold.

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§11.709   Final account.

(a) When the affairs of an estate have been fully administered, the executor or administrator shall file a final account with the court, verified by his or her oath. Such final account shall affirmatively set forth:

(1) That all claims against the estate have been paid, except as shown, and that the estate has adequate unexpended and unappropriated funds to fully pay such remaining claims;

(2) The amount of money received and expended by him or her, from whom received and to whom paid, referring to the vouchers for each of such payments;

(3) That there is nothing further to be done in the administration of the estate except as shown in the final account;

(4) The remaining assets of the estate, including unexpended and unappropriated money, at the time of filing the final account;

(5) The proposed determination of heirs and indicate the names, ages, addresses and relationship to the decedent of each distributee and the proposed distributive share and value thereof each heir, devisee or legatee is to receive; and

(6) A petition that the court set a date for conducting a hearing to approve the final account, to determine the heirs, devisees and legatees of the decedent and the distributive share each distributee is to receive.

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§11.710   Determination of the court.

At the time set for hearing upon the final account, the Court of Indian Offenses shall proceed to examine all evidence relating to the distribution of the decedent's estate, and consider objections to the final account which may have been filed by any heir, devisee, legatee, or other person having an interest in the distribution of the estate. Upon conclusion of the hearing, the court shall enter an order:

(a) Providing for payment of approved claims;

(b) Determining the decedent's heirs, devisees and legatees, indicating the names, ages and addresses of each, and the distributive share of the remaining estate which each distributee is to receive; and

(c) Directing the administrator or executor to distribute such distributive share to those entitled thereto.

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§11.711   Descent and distribution.

(a) The court shall distribute the estate according to the terms of the will of the decedent which has been admitted to probate.

(b) If the decedent died intestate or having left a will which has been rejected by the court, the estate shall be distributed as follows:

(1) According to the laws and customs of the tribe if such laws and customs are proved; or

(2) According to state law absent the existence of tribal laws or customs.

(c) If no person takes under the above subsections, the estate shall escheat to the tribe.

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§11.712   Closing estate.

(a) Upon finding that the estate has been fully administered and is in a condition to be closed, the court shall enter an order closing the estate and discharging the executor or administrator.

(b) If an order closing the estate has not been entered by the end of nine months following appointment of executor or administrator, the executor or administrator shall file a written report with the court stating the reasons why the estate has not been closed.

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§11.713   Small estates.

An estate having an appraised value which does not exceed $2,000.00 and which is to be inherited by a surviving spouse and/or minor children of the deceased may, upon petition of the executor or administrator, and a hearing before the court, be distributed without administration to those entitled thereto, upon which the estate shall be closed.

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