As an individual Indian landowner, you may receive a purchase offer from the Land Buy-Back Program. The offer will come in the mail as a package of documents. Each offer package includes a cover letter, an instruction sheet for completing the required documents, a one-page deed, an inventory of fractional land interests which the Program is offering to purchase from you, and one or more maps showing the general location of the tracts of land in which you own an interest.
Before you start there are a few things to look out for…
If your name, address, or date of birth on the deed is NOT correct, do not complete and return your documents. The sale cannot be processed if your personal information on the deed is incorrect.
Instead, contact the Trust Beneficiary Call Center immediately at 1-888-678-6836 to coordinate replacement documents or your local Fiduciary Trust Officer (FTO) with the Office of Special Trustee for American Indians (OST). If your name has recently changed, be prepared to provide documentation such as a court order or decree for the purpose of changing your name. This might be a marriage certificate, divorce decree, etc.
These are legal documents and may not be accepted if they contain white-out, cross-outs, scribbles, or other alterations. If an error is made while filling out the inventory or completing the deed, contact the Call Center immediately at 1-888-678-6836 or your local FTO for instructions.
You must return the original signed and notarized deed, and all pages of the inventory, in the enclosed postage paid self-addressed envelope for the sale to be processed. Copies of these documents cannot be accepted.
Let's review the documents in the offer package one by one.
The Cover letter contains important information. Please be sure to read it carefully, and if you have any questions when you are done, contact the Call Center at 1-888-678-6836.
The first thing to notice is that each cover letter has your unique Grantor Identification Number at the top. Have this number available if you need to contact the Call Center with questions or for more information.
The letter contains the amount you would be paid if you decide to sell all of your land interests listed on the inventory. If you decide to sell only some of your interests, the amount will be lower. An additional base payment of $75.00 will be included with a final payment if you decide to sell any or all of your interests. Further down you will see the date by which you must mail your completed documents if you decide to sell. The sale cannot be processed if you mail your documents after this date.
The next document is the Instructions for Completing Inventory and Deed.
Please read ALL of the instructions before completing any of the enclosed documents.
The next document in the package is the deed.
Do not sign the deed until you are in front of a Notary Public. The Notary must witness your signature. Be prepared to provide legal identification such as your driver's license or other federal, state, or tribal identification.
The deed must reflect your legal name of record. If your name on the deed is correct, sign on the line above it. You must sign the deed exactly as your name appears on the deed for the sale to be processed.
The Notary Public must then complete the acknowledgement section at the bottom of the deed. You can find notaries at your local federal offices, some tribal government offices, as well as at many banking institutions.
You must return the original signed and notarized deed for the sale to be processed.
You can make and keep a copy of the deed for your records if you wish.
The next document in the package is Purchasable Interests Inventory (Exhibit A).
Please note that the inventory may not include all of the fractional interests you own, because not all lands are purchasable under the Buy Back Program.
The inventory lists your ownership interests in each tract of Indian trust or restricted land eligible for purchase under the Buy Back Program, and the value of each interest in each tract. There are two parts to the Inventory: a DETAIL and a SUMMARY section.
The first part is the DETAIL section which includes a legal description of each tract and additional information you may find useful in deciding which interests you want to sell.
The second part of the Inventory is the Summary, on which you will select the interests you want to sell.
Use the “Item” number for cross reference between the SUMMARY and DETAIL sections.
Select the ownership interests you wish to sell by filling in the bubble next to each tract.
If you wish to sell all of your ownership interests, fill the bubble next to "Sell All Tracts Listed Below" only. You do not need to fill in any additional bubbles on the inventory.
You must fill in the bubbles completely using a pen with either blue or black ink.
You must return all original pages of both the DETAIL and SUMMARY sections of the inventory for the sale to be processed.
You can make and keep a copy of the inventory for your records if you wish.
The next part of the package is the map.
Next in the package is the map or maps. The maps show the general location of the tracts of land that include your ownership interests.
A self-addressed return envelope that allows you to return the completed purchase offer document free of charge for processing is included in the package.
After your sale has been processed, you will receive an acknowledgement notice in the mail. The acknowledgment notice will specify the total amount paid to you, including the $75 base payment. It will also indicate the matching amount contributed on your behalf to the Cobell Scholarship Fund for American Indian and Alaska Native students. The contribution to the scholarship fund does not impact the amount of money you receive in payment for your interests.
The Buy-Back Program is a voluntary program. For landowners who wish to sell their interests, this step-by-step video is now available to help assist individuals with identifying critical information included in their Offer Package and completing the necessary forms.