Estates and Trusts

Estates and Trusts

When a registered Indian whose principal residence is on reserve passes away, his/her personal property and/or land holdings (estate) must be dealt with. Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) is responsible for having a personal representative (a family member, or someone chosen by the family, or a person named in the deceased's will) appointed with the legal authority to administer the deceased's estate.

Once appointed, the personal representative is responsible for administering the deceased's estate either in accordance with the deceased's will or if the deceased died without a will, in accordance with Section 48 of the Indian Act.

If the person named in the deceased's will is unwilling to administer the estate, and/or none of the deceased's family members are willing to act as an administrator or nominate someone to administer the estate, AANDC will act as administrator of last resort.

For further information on this subject, please refer to Sections 42 -50 of the Indian Act.

Estates of Mentally Incompetent Individuals

When a registered Indian whose principal residence is on-reserve is deemed under provincial legislation to no longer be capable of handling his/her own financial affairs, AANDC may administer that individual's estate or appoint someone to administer it. This involves managing only the individual's financial affairs (such as costs related to the ongoing care and well-being of that individual).

For further information on this subject, please refer to Section 51 of the Indian Act.

Estates of Minors

Generally, First Nation parents are responsible for managing the property or moneys belonging to their children. There may be certain situations in which AANDC may appoint a guardian to administer the property of a First Nation minor.

For further information of this subject, please refer to Section 52 of the Indian Act.

For further information on working with estates and trusts, visit the links above or contact Main Reception and ask to speak to a representative in Community Development.