Project helping Native Americans obtain wills returns

Two-day service offered by appointment only

The Daily Times staff
Julie Redhouse, left, translates for Rosie A. Chavez while looking over legal documents March 29 at the Upper Fruitland Chapter house as part of a free program that helps Native Americans put together a will.

FARMINGTON — A free program that helps Native Americans put together a will returns next week to Upper Fruitland and Nenahnezad chapters.

The U.S. Department of the Interior's Office of the Special Trustee and the University of Denver Sturm College of Law are collaborating again to help Native Americans in drafting and finalizing wills.

Twenty law students will collect information and draft wills for Native Americans who have tribal enrollment numbers.

The students work under the guidance of a law school professor and supervising attorneys to conduct interviews, draft wills and review final documents with clients.

The entire process takes place over two days, and the service is offered by appointment only.

John Roach, a fiduciary trust officer for the Office of the Special Trustee, said there could be space for walk-ins, but priority is given to those who have appointments.

The program will be offered from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. March 12-15 at the Walter Collins Center in Upper Fruitland and at the Nenahnezad Chapter house in Nenahnezad.

The wills project was developed in response to the American Indian Probate Reform Act of 2004, which changed the process for Native Americans to distribute allotted plots of land to heirs.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact the Office of the Special Trustee at 970-563-1013.