The Karuk Tribal Court, by and through its Probate Division, shall have jurisdiction over all probate matters arising within the boundaries of the Tribe’s Aboriginal Territory. The Karuk Probate Code shall govern descent and distribution of:
(A) Any and all nontrust real and personal property subject to probate distribution;
(B) Trust and restricted land that is located within the Aboriginal Territory that is subject to the Karuk Tribe’s jurisdiction.
This Code applies to all enrolled members of a federally recognized Indian tribe and all persons eligible for enrollment in a federally recognized Indian tribe, or who otherwise meet the definition of “Indian” under the American Indian Probate Reform Act of 2004 with regard to real estate located within the Aboriginal Territory of the Karuk Tribe. In addition, it applies to all personal property of such persons to the extent they are domiciled on Tribal lands or within the Aboriginal Territory. An enrolled member of the Karuk Tribe shall be presumed to be domiciled within the Aboriginal Territory, regardless of residence elsewhere, in absence of proof of domicile in another location.
The Tribal Council of the Karuk Tribe has determined that the increase in fractionated ownership of aboriginal lands held by Tribal members threatens the long-term viability of the Karuk Aboriginal Territory as a homeland for the exclusive use of the Tribe and its members. The Council has further authorized and empowered the Karuk Tribal Court to establish a Probate Division, which will be responsible for processing documents and hearing probate matters of its Tribal membership. This probate procedure serves the best interests of the Tribal members by making the probate process more expeditious, economical, and instrumental in encouraging and assisting Tribal members to plan for the transfer of their property upon their deaths.