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Probate Reform Act focus of Indian law conference

The Indian Probate Reform Act recently signed into law will be the primary focus of the second annual Indian Law Conference at the University of Idaho College of Law in Moscow, Idaho.

The conference will be held February 16-17. Douglas Nash, associate law professor and organizer of the meeting, said the history of the Indian probate process, events leading to passage of the law and the content of the act and its implementation will be the subject of presentations at the conference.

�The probate of Indian estates has long been complicated, often requiring federal, state and tribal proceedings for a single estate,� Nash said. "For example, many tribal members own property that is held in trust for them by the United States, meaning that legal title to that property is held by the United States and not the tribal member. In the past, that property could only be probated through the federal system, which would not probate any non-trust assets of the tribal member. The newly approved Indian Probate Reform Act will have significant impact on issues such as that.�

The UI College of Law last summer conducted an Indian Estate Planning Project in which law students were placed at reservations in Idaho, Washington and Oregon to provide estate planning services to tribal members under the supervision of legal services programs in those three states. The project was funded with a two-year grant from the Indian Land Tenure Foundation. Two students will share their experiences, as well as the scope and results of the program, with conference attendees.

The conference is co-hosted by the law college and the Indian Law Section of the Idaho State Bar. Other sponsors include Holland & Hart, LLP; Lexus Nexus; the Indian Land Tenure Foundation; Morisset, Scholosser, Jozwiak & McGaw; and the National Native American Bar Association.

There is a nominal registration fee for attorneys; tribal officials and members may attend free of charge. There is a fee for all who attend the banquet.

More registration details are available at

Relevant Links:
Indian Land Tenure Foundation -
Indian Land Working Group -
Indian Trust: Cobell v. Norton -

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