Cherokee Tribal Council Invalidates Will

Aug 22, 2011 - LegalZoom News Sources
A Cherokee tribal council recently invalidated a tribe member's will, in which she bequeathed land to her children.

Demonstrating the importance of meeting all legal requirements when drawing up a last will and testament, the Tribal Council of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians recently invalidated the will of Gladys A. Wright, disinheriting her children of about 205 acres of land.

In her 2007 last will and testament, Wright bequeathed her possessor land holding in Cherokee County to her four children. However, tribal authorities challenged the legality of the document because it was not signed by any witnesses except a notary public.

Wright's daughter, Elizabeth Posich, told the Cherokee One Feather newspaper the two courts validated the will before the case went before the Tribal Council, which voted 10-2 to invalidate it and grant possession of the land to the tribe. Posich said she was "devastated" by the court's ruling, which contradicts the wishes of her late mother.

One of the two dissenting council members, Terri Henry, told the One Feather that regardless of the validity of the will, Wright's acreage should have been passed on to her brother after she died. Henry said the council's decision amounts to a land-grab.

The Cherokee Scout reports Wright's land is needed for a planned gaming facility.