MLSA Receives Funding to Help Preserve Native American Families’ Trust Land

Tribal NationsThe Montana Legal Services Association (MLSA) recently received a contract to help fund its Indian Wills Project, aimed at assisting Native American Montanans on seven reservations to avoid losing their trust land upon death. The contract, for funding from the Indian Land Tenure Foundation, will run through September 30, 2017.


The Indian Wills Project has been serving Native American Montanan families since 2006. Without properly drafted wills and estate documents, Native Americans can lose their trust land to the federal government upon death, rather than the land passing to their families. Through the Indian Wills Project, MLSA brings affordable and accessible legal help that prevents families from losing their land.


MLSA will coordinate with Tribal Leaders, the State of Montana Area Agency on Aging, Senior Centers, Fiduciary Trust Officers, Bureau of Indian Affairs Realty Offices, and others to provide legal help to Native American families. The services include direct legal aid, legal aid through clinics, training for pro bono (free) attorneys in order that they can provide legal aid, and more.


The Indian Wills Project is just one way that MLSA provides equal justice to all Montanans. Civil legal aid from MLSA assures fairness for all in the justice system, regardless of how much money a person has, and helps Montanans protect their livelihoods, their health, and their families.