The Indian Legal Clinic successfully and safely completed two in-person Indian Wills Clinics with Quechan Indian Tribe and Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians. Under the direction of Professor Helen Burtis (’07), 3L student attorneys Jacob Broussard, Liliana Elliot, Lindsay Ficklin, Zaine Ristau and Dwight Witherspoon drafted estate planning documents that are designed to provide allotment owners with wills that conform to the provisions of American Indian Probate Reform Act. The past few years have highlighted the need for elders especially to execute Indian wills.
In September, the clinic executed 14 wills for members of the Quechan Indian Tribe near Yuma, Arizona. In October, the clinic executed 16 wills for members of the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians in Temecula, California.
Students appreciated the hands-on experience with Native American clients, especially being able to interact with clients in person again, albeit with safety precautions. “I find doing the Wills Clinic really rewarding,” said Elliott. “I learned a lot that I think will be helpful as a future Indian Law attorney.”
Witherspoon added, “I appreciate working with Native American clients and assisting them with their allotments that pertain specifically to Native American clients in addressing their estate planning needs.”
We appreciate the tribes for their generous hospitality and hosting the Indian Wills Clinic at their facilities. The clinic is planning additional Indian Wills Clinics for next semester.