My mother received a letter from her sister asking her to sign a lease agreement. What does it mean? Should she sign it?

As a general rule, one should always get more information before signing anything. That means knowing more about the other allottees on this allotment, what the lease is for and the duration of the lease. Contact the local BIA agency for this information or the Office of Special Trustee Call Center at 888-678-6836 and request assistance. Make sure to have your identification materials readily available. The Call Center system creates a check and balance to avoid unnecessary delays in getting information.

Do not assume that since someone is pushing you to sign a lease that it is in your best interest. Find out more. Some lease agreements can be for grazing for a set number of years while other leases could be for rights of way and for as long as 50 years or more. As a recipient of lease income, you need to consider all information before signing a lease, including fair market value of the land.