Will-in-a-Box (Do-It-Yourself Indian Will for Native Americans)
Authored By: Montana Legal Services Association (MLSA)
Before You Start
You can use the interactive Will-in-a-Box to create a free Indian Will that will say who should get your personal property, real estate, Individual Indian Money (IIM) Account, and Indian trust land after you pass. The interactive program fills out an Indian Will based on the answers you give in an online interview.
When you’re done, you’ll need to download, print, and properly sign the Will in front of two witnesses and a public notary. Your witnesses cannot be anyone in your immediate family or someone named in your Will. There will be a cover sheet on top with information on how to properly sign your Will and tips for safely storing it. You can find the link to the Will-in-a-Box at the bottom of this page.
What you’ll need when completing the form
To complete the Will-in-a-Box, you’ll need:
- Full legal name of your spouse, if you have one, and their date of birth and date of death, if applicable.
- Full legal names of your children, if you have any, and their date of birth and date of death, if applicable.
- Your tribal enrollment number, if you are enrolled with a Tribe.
- Tribal enrollment numbers for everyone enrolled in a Tribe who you want to name in your Will.
- Your county of residence.
- Full legal names of any individuals (aside from your spouse or children) you plan to leave any property or gifts to in your Will.
- Full legal names of any nonprofit organizations or other charities you plan to leave property or gifts to in your Will.
- Full legal names of anyone you wish to exclude from inheriting property.
- Full legal names of the individuals you plan to name as the guardian(s) of your minor children(ren), your burial agent (if you want one), and your personal representative (often called an “executor”).
- Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) for any vehicles you want to include in your Will.
- Account numbers for any capital accounts, checking, or other accounts that you want to include in your Will.
It’s OK to try out the Will-in-the-Box to see if it’s right for you, even if you don’t have all of this information. That may make it easier to complete when you return to it to write an actual Will. You might also decide that you want help from a lawyer to write a Will. Using the Will-in-a-Box doesn’t automatically create a valid Will. A Will is only valid if you properly sign it. If you do print off a Will using this program, keep it safe. If you don’t plan on signing it, you should destroy it to avoid any confusion after you pass.
Saving your answers
This form can take 45 to 90 minutes to complete. It may take a lot longer. You can save your answers so that you can return to it at a later time. To save your answers, you’ll need to create a secure account with the LawHelp Interactive website. When you click on the link to the Will-in-a-Box below, you’ll go to a screen with information on how to create an account. Keep your account information safe.
It is possible to use this form on your smart phone, but we recommend using a computer based on how long it takes to complete.
These forms are not right for everyone. The interview might tell you to talk to a lawyer based on the information you give. If that happens, you can return to this website to find out how to apply for free legal help.
Follow the link after Go to the Will-in-a-Box to leave this screen and get started on your Will.
Need more information?
You can use our free forms to ask the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) to send you a report of all the Indian trust land that you own an interest in. We have another form to ask the BIA to send you a report of all your Individual Indian Money (IIM) accounts. Knowing what you own may help you make decisions about your Will.
If you have any questions about Indian Wills, it would be a good idea to take a look at the Montana State University (MSU) Extension Office’s Inheriting Indian Land Fact Sheets.
Need legal help?
Montana Legal Services Association (MLSA) provides free legal help with Indian Wills to eligible clients. Learn more about how to apply for free legal help.