Tribal Courts – & Legal Information

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Federal Laws & Legal Remedies to Protect Native (“Indian”) Landowners

Definition of GUARDIAN:

“Someone who has the legal authority & duty to care for another’s person or property, especially because of the other’s infancy, incapacity, or disability.”

Definition of WARD:

“A person, usually a minor, who is under a guardian’s charge or protection.”

Definition of BENEFICIARY:

n. (17c.) 1. Someone who is designated to receive the advantages from an action or change; especially one designated to benefit from an appointment, disposition, or assignment (as in a will, insurance policy, etc.) or to receive something as a result of a legal arrangement or instrument.  2. A person to whom another is in a fiduciary relation, whether the relation is one of agency, guardianship, or trust, especially a person for whose benefit property is held in trust.  3. Someone who is initially entitled to enforce a promise, whether that person is the promisee or a third party.  4. Someone who is entitled under a letter of credit to draw or demand
payment.  5. Someone designated to receive money or property from a person who has died. – beneficiary, adj.

Definition of TRUSTEE:

n. (17c.) 1. Someone who stands in a fiduciary or confidential relation to another; especially
one who, having legal title to property, holds it in trust for the benefit of another & owes a fiduciary duty to that beneficiary.  Generally, a trustee’s duties are to convert to cash all debts & securities that are not qualified legal investments, to reinvest the cash in proper securities, to protect & preserve the trust property, & to ensure that it is employed solely for the beneficiary, in accordance with the directions contained in the trust instrument.”

A trustee is bound to perform all acts which are necessary for the proper execution of his trust.  But by the English rule, as he is not allowed compensation for his services, he would stand in
the position of a gratuitous bailee, & be responsible only for losses or improper execution of his trust, in cases of gross negligence.  The rule denying him compensation does not, however, obtain generally in America, and it is the general practice in America to allow commissions to trustees in cases of open and admitted trusts, where the trustee has not forfeited
them by gross misconduct.  It would seem, that in all the States where a compensation is given, he would be a bailee for hire of labor and services, and bound to exercise ordinary diligence.  And he engages that he has sufficient skill to execute the duties of his
office properly. And, indeed, a trustee seems generally to be bound to take the same care of the trust fund as a prudent & discreet man would take of his own property, to manage it for the best interest of the cestui que trust, & to make no profit or
advantage out of it for himself personally.

– 1 William W. Story, A Treatise on the Law of Contracts 5 374, at 328-30 (1874)

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