SUMMARY: This position, under the direction of the Realty Program Manager, and the direct supervision of the Supervisory Probate Specialist, is responsible for the Probate and Estate Services function of the Realty Department. This position reports the deaths of deceased, restricted landowners to the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), and initiates Federal Indian Probate. The primary function of this position is to gather information and documentation, and to prepare a complete probate case for submission to the BIA and to the Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA) for the determination of heirs. This is a career ladder position with a level I and level II. Level I is an introductory/trainee position with limited independence; and level II includes additional responsibilities and increased independence.
PERFORMANCE RESPONSIBILITIES: include the following. Other duties may be assigned.
- Maintains strict confidentiality of the department and clientele.
- Receives one-on-one technical direction from the Supervisory Probate Specialist or designee.
- Possesses basic knowledge and skills or the ability to learn and apply the Code of Federal Regulations (CFRs) related to the Probate of Federally restricted lands.
- Opens new probate files, maintains records, responds to requests for search of Last Will & Testaments from other agencies, and provides assistance.
- Tracks and verifies notices of death in the region. Upon receiving reports of death, completes thorough records research to determine restricted land ownership, and prepares Death Report Worksheets for submission to the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) to initiate Federal Indian Probate Cases.
- Assists in the preparation of required forms and instruments required for probating estates.
- Obtains legal documents through various agencies as needed.
- Obtains certificates through the State of Alaska Bureau of Vital Statistics office.
- Prepares and electronically records documents at the Department of Natural Resources Recorder’s Office.
- Posts Notices of Initial Hearing on behalf of the Office of Hearings and Appeals.
- Assists the Probate Specialists in routine probate cases.
- Provides routine reports in a timely manner and ad hoc reports upon request.
- Travels in and out of the region as required.
Probate Specialist I
*Abilities needed to advance to Probate Specialist I
- Possesses basic knowledge and skills or the ability to learn and apply Alaska’s Laws of Intestate Succession and Code of Federal Regulations (CFRs) related to the Probate of Federally restricted lands.
- Protects the best interests of the deceased Native Restricted landowner.
- Maintains and updates Probate Cases in all stages of case preparation, including but not limited to keeping thorough telephone logs of conversations with potential heirs and/or interested parties related to Probate Cases; emails related to the Probate Case; and records of all case activity.
- Identifies one or two knowledgeable immediate family members to assist in the collection of family history information, which includes adoptions.
- Verifies information with each individual to whom the information pertains.
- Collects copies of vital records, such as birth and marriage records, from family members when available, and other agencies where records are not in family members’ possession.
- Prepares accurate inventory and appraisement of restricted land interests decedent owned at the time of death. Ability to accurately identify restricted townsite lots and gather townsite lot improvement information from family members or other agencies as necessary.
- Follows-up routinely with probable heirs and/or interested parties and other agencies to obtain information or documentation necessary for submission of probate package to the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA).
- Prepares probate package from the information gathered for submission to the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA).
- Attends probate hearings for all Probate Cases assigned and produces additional information or documentation to the Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA) if necessary.
- Establishes and implements systems whereby all workload within the section is accounted for at all times.
Probate Specialist II
*Abilities needed to advance to Probate Specialist II
- Possesses intermediate Probate knowledge and skill.
- Provides one-on-one coaching and training to Probate and Estate Services staff so that they are able to produce high quality work and increase their capacity.
- Provides initial review of probate packages prepared by the Probate and Estate Services staff to ensure compliance with BIA policies prior to second review by the Supervisory Probate Specialist.
- Provides initial review of land ownership searches prepared by the Probate Clerk, and ensures all supporting documents are produced.
- Responds to and completes requests for additional information or documentation for Probate Cases from the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), and from the Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA).
- Prepares probate case files identified as high priority cases, such as probate cases related to pending Native Allotments and pending transactions.
- Possesses the ability to continue case preparation to completion regardless of the status of the case file.
- Prepares extremely complicated Probate cases.
- Initiates and performs above duties with minimal supervision.
QUALIFICATIONS: To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required. Demonstrated dependable work attendance record. Must possess strong written, oral, organizational, analytical, and computer skills. The individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. Bilingual Yup’ik/English preferred.
EDUCATION AND EXPERIENCE:
Probate Clerk: High school diploma or GED is required. Three (3) years of general clerical or secretarial experience is preferred. Proven ability to compile reports and prepare business correspondence. Proven ability to read and apply Code of Federal Regulations (CFRs) related to Probate.
Probate Specialist I: In addition to those stated above, must be able to apply Alaska’s Laws of Intestacy. Previous evaluations rated as good to excellent. Effectively produce thorough and complete probate packages.
Probate Specialist II: In addition to those stated above, must possess intermediate Probate knowledge and skill. Previous evaluations rated as good to excellent. Must possess ability to successfully train or coach colleagues in their role as Probate Clerk or Probate Specialist I.
This position is a Grade 4 and has a Salary Range of: $46,318 – $60,161
Job Posting Expiration Date: June 30, 2022
We hope to have this position filled by date listed above, if no qualified applicant is hired we may advertise an additional 30 days.