25 U.S.C. 2206 - Descent and distribution

Cite as:25 U.S.C. 2206
Currency:Current through P.L. 116-135 (03/26/2020)
 
FREE EXCERPT

(a) Nontestamentary disposition

(1) Rules of descent

Subject to any applicable Federal law relating to the devise or descent of trust or restricted property, any trust or restricted interest in land or interest in trust personalty that is not disposed of by a valid will-

(A) shall descend according to an applicable tribal probate code approved in accordance with section 2205 of this title; or

(B) in the case of a trust or restricted interest in land or interest in trust personalty to which a tribal probate code does not apply, shall descend in accordance with-

(i) paragraphs (2) through (5); and

(ii) other applicable Federal law.

(2) 1 Rules governing descent of estate

(A) Surviving spouse

If there is a surviving spouse of the decedent, such spouse shall receive trust and restricted land and trust personalty in the estate as follows:

(i) If the decedent is survived by 1 or more eligible heirs described in subparagraph (B)(i), (ii), (iii), or (iv), the surviving spouse shall receive 1/3 of the trust personalty of the decedent and a life estate without regard to waste in the interests in trust or restricted lands of the decedent.

(ii) If there are no eligible heirs described in subparagraph (B)(i), (ii), (iii), or (iv), the surviving spouse shall receive all of the trust personalty of the decedent and a life estate without regard to waste in the trust or restricted lands of the decedent.

(iii) The remainder shall pass as set forth in subparagraph (B).

(iv) Trust personalty passing to a surviving spouse under the provisions of this subparagraph shall be maintained by the Secretary in an account as trust personalty, but only if such spouse is Indian.

(B) Individual and tribal heirs

Where there is no surviving spouse of the decedent, or there is a remainder interest pursuant to subparagraph (A), the trust or restricted estate or such remainder shall, subject to subparagraphs (A) and (D), pass as follows:

(i) To those of the decedent's children who are eligible heirs (or if 1 or more of such children do not survive the decedent, the children of any such deceased child who are eligible heirs, by right of representation, but only if such children of the deceased child survive the decedent) in equal shares.

(ii) If the property does not pass under clause (i), to those of the decedent's surviving great-grandchildren who are eligible heirs, in equal shares.

(iii) If the property does not pass under clause (i) or (ii), to the decedent's surviving parent who is an eligible heir, and if both parents survive the decedent and are both eligible heirs, to both parents in equal shares.

(iv) If the property does not pass under clause (i), (ii), or (iii), to those of the decedent's surviving siblings who are eligible heirs, in equal shares.

(v) If the property does not pass under clause (i), (ii), (iii), or (iv), to the Indian tribe with jurisdiction over the interests in trust or restricted lands;

except that notwithstanding clause (v), an Indian co-owner (including the Indian tribe referred to in clause (v)) of a parcel of trust or restricted land may acquire an interest that would otherwise descend under that clause by paying into the estate of the decedent, before the close of the probate of the estate, the fair market value of the interest in the land; if more than 1 Indian co-owner offers to pay for such interest, the highest bidder shall acquire the interest.

(C) No Indian tribe

(i) In general

If there is no Indian tribe with jurisdiction over the interests in trust or restricted lands that would otherwise descend under subparagraph (B)(v), then such interests shall be divided equally among co-owners of trust or restricted interests in the parcel; if there are no such co-owners, then to the United States, provided that any such interests in land passing to the United States under this subparagraph shall be sold by the Secretary and the proceeds from such sale deposited into the land acquisition fund established under section 2215 of this title and used for the purposes described in subsection (b) of that section.

(ii) Contiguous parcel

If the interests passing to the United States under this subparagraph are in a parcel of land that is contiguous to another parcel of trust or restricted land, the Secretary shall give the owner or owners of the trust or restricted interest in the contiguous parcel the first opportunity to purchase the interest at not less than fair market value determined in accordance with this chapter. If more than 1 such owner in the contiguous parcel request to purchase the parcel, the Secretary shall sell the parcel by public auction or sealed bid (as determined by the Secretary) at not less than fair market value to the owner of a trust or restricted interest in the contiguous parcel submitting the highest bid.

(D) Intestate descent of small fractional interests in land

(i) General rule

Notwithstanding subparagraphs (A) and (B), and subject to any applicable Federal law, any trust or restricted interest in land in the decedent's estate that is not disposed of by a valid will and represents less than 5 percent of the entire undivided ownership of the parcel of land of which such interest is a part, as evidenced by the decedent's estate inventory at the time of the heirship determination, shall descend in accordance with clauses (ii) through (v).

(ii) Surviving spouse

If there is a surviving spouse, and such spouse was residing on a parcel of land described in clause (i) at the time of the decedent's death, the spouse shall receive a life estate without regard to waste in the decedent's trust or restricted interest in only such parcel, and the remainder interest in that parcel shall pass in accordance with clause (iii).

(iii) Single heir rule

Where there is no life estate created under clause (ii) or there is a remainder interest under that clause, the trust or restricted interest or remainder interest that is subject to this subparagraph shall descend, in trust or restricted status, to-

(I) the decedent's surviving child, but only if such child is an eligible heir; and if 2 or more surviving children are eligible heirs, then to the oldest of such children;

(II) if the interest does not pass under subclause (I), the decedent's surviving grandchild, but only if such grandchild is an eligible heir; and if 2 or more surviving grandchildren are eligible heirs, then to the oldest of such grandchildren;

(III) if the interest does not pass under subclause (I) or (II), the decedent's surviving great grandchild, but only if such great grandchild is an eligible heir; and if 2 or more surviving great grandchildren are eligible heirs, then to the oldest of such great grandchildren;

(IV) if the interest does not pass under subclause (I), (II), or (III), the Indian tribe with jurisdiction over the interest; or

(V) if the interest does not pass under subclause (I), (II), or (III), and there is no such Indian tribe to inherit the property under subclause (IV), the interest shall be divided equally among co-owners of trust or restricted interests in the parcel; and if there are no such co-owners, then to the United States, to be sold, and the proceeds from sale used, in the same manner provided in subparagraph (C).

The determination of which person is the oldest eligible heir for inheritance purposes under this clause shall be made by the Secretary in the decedent's probate proceeding and shall be consistent with the provisions of this chapter.

(iv) Exceptions

Notwithstanding clause (iii)-

(I)

(aa) the heir of an interest under this subparagraph, unless the heir is a minor or incompetent person, may agree in writing entered into the record of the decedent's probate proceeding to renounce such interest, in trust or restricted status, in favor of-

(AA) any other eligible heir or Indian person related to the heir by blood, but in any case never in favor of more than 1 such heir or person;

(BB) not more than 1 co-owner of another trust or restricted interest in such parcel of land; or

(CC) the Indian tribe with jurisdiction over the interest, if any; and

(bb) the Secretary shall give effect to such agreement in the distribution of the interest in the probate proceeding; and

(II) the governing body of the Indian tribe with jurisdiction over an interest in trust or restricted land that is subject to the provisions of this subparagraph may adopt a rule of intestate descent applicable to such interest that differs from the order of descent set forth in clause (iii). The Secretary shall apply such rule to the interest in distributing the decedent's estate, but only if-

(aa) a copy of the tribal rule is delivered to the official designated by the Secretary to receive copies of tribal rules for the purposes of this clause;

(bb) the tribal rule provides for the intestate inheritance of such interest by no more than 1 heir, so that the interest does not further fractionate;

(cc) the tribal rule does not apply to any interest disposed of by a valid will;

(dd) the decedent died on or after the date described in subsection (b) of section 8 of the American Indian Probate 2 Act of 2004, or on or after the date on which a copy of the tribal rule was delivered to the Secretary pursuant to item (aa), whichever is later; and

(ee) the Secretary does not make a determination within 90 days after a copy of the tribal rule is delivered pursuant to item (aa) that the rule would be unreasonably difficult to administer or does not conform with the requirements in item (bb) or (cc).

(v) Effect of subparagraph

Nothing in this subparagraph limits the right of any person to devise any trust or restricted interest pursuant to a valid will in accordance with subsection (b).

(3) Right of representation

If, under this subsection, all or any part of the estate of a decedent is to pass to children of a deceased child by right of representation, that part is to be divided into as many equal shares as there are living children of the decedent and pre-deceased children who left issue who survive the decedent. Each living child of the decedent, if any, shall receive 1 share, and the share of each pre-deceased child shall be divided equally among the pre-deceased child's children.

To continue reading

FREE SIGN UP