your internet resource on facebook on twitter on Google+ on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
Indian Law Online Master Degree - University of Tulsa College of Law
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines
Print   Subscribe
Bush administration finalizes probate rule
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Filed Under: Politics | Trust

Meeting a last-minute deadline, the Bush administration has finalized a comprehensive set of regulations that seek to reform the probate of Indian lands.

After more than two years of development, the 200-page notice of the final rule is being published in the Federal Register tomorrow.It becomes effective on December 15, only about a month before president-elect Barack Obama takes office.

Obama, who won overwhelming support across Indian Country, is already reviewing some of President Bush's regulatory initiatives, with an eye towards changing or rescinding some of them. It's not known at this time whether the probate rule, or any others affecting Indian issues, will be affected.

"The purpose of today's final rulemaking is to allow the Department of the Interior to better meet its trust responsibilities and to carry out the policies established by Congress to strengthen tribal sovereignty," the notice states. "This rulemaking will provide the department with the tools to more effectively and consistently manage trust assets and better serve its trust beneficiaries (i.e., Indian tribes and individual Indians)."

Though the administration pitched the rule as a way to streamline and simplify the probate process, some organizations like the Indian Land Working Group expressed concerns about deadlines being imposed on landowners and their heirs. Among other changes, the regulations shorten the time frames for appeals and submissions of information to the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Department of the Interior.

According to the notice, commenters objected to the 30-day deadlines adopted by the rule but the department rejected the concerns. Other deadlines related to probates, appraisals and appeals have been shortened even further, to 20-day and 15-day periods.

"The department weighed the interests of those who may want to appeal and the potential for circumstances such as those identified by the commenter against the interests of those waiting for distribution of the probated assets," the notice states.

At the same time, the final rule allows the BIA as much time as it wants to prepare a probate package and even extends one deadline for third-party creditors who make claims on an Indian landowner's estate. The BIA also will be able to take 180 days to review a tribal probate code, even though some commenters requested a shorter period.

The probate changes were first proposed in August 2006. The administration extended the public comment period twice, though the final one closed over a year ago, in March 2007.

The lengthy delay meant the rule had to be published in the Federal Register this month in order to meet a deadline imposed by the White House. "Except in extraordinary circumstances, regulations to be finalized in this administration should be proposed no later than June 1, 2008, and final regulations should be issued no later than November 1, 2008," chief of staff Josh Bolten said in a May 9 memo.

Jim Cason, the associate deputy secretary at Interior, signed the final rule on October 2. Review by the White House Office of Management and Budget likely delayed its final publication in the Federal Register.

"Anyone who understood existing regulations should be braced for sweeping procedural changes," wrote Jodi Rave, the Native issues reporter for The Missoulian newspaper in Montana, in an October 3 column.

Rave, a member of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation in North Dakota, said she needed 60 days to appeal a probate ruling involving her mother's estate. "It took more than 30 days just to get estate documents from the Bureau of Indian Affairs office at Fort Berthold."

Though she was successful in resolving the issue, she said others in Indian Country might not do so well under the new rule. "With shortened probate-review periods just around the corner, thousands of other landowners aren't going to be as lucky," Rave wrote.

Federal Register Notice:
Indian Trust Management Reform

Related Stories:
Jodi Rave: Trust reform an issue for Obama (11/12)
Big issues await Obama administration in DC (11/10)
No mention of tribes on Obama transition website (11/7)
Indian vote shows mixed results in key states (11/6)
Sen. Obama wins historic presidential election (11/5)
Jodi Rave: Interior's unfair probate deadline (10/3)

Copyright © Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:
On Facebook

On Twitter

On Google+

On SoundCloud
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Controversy brews as House takes up Native American Energy Act (10/6)
Native Sun News: Crow Tribe leader advises Rep. Zinke on energy (10/6)
Lakota Country Times: Program for Native students closes down (10/6)
Mark Trahant: Far too many missing and murdered Native women (10/6)
Alfred Walking Bull: Let's open up about suicide in Indian Country (10/6)
Raina Thiele: Alaska Natives share culture with President Obama (10/6)
Mary Pember: Fashion show tackles trafficking in Indian Country (10/6)
Torivio Fodder: Pope Francis ignores sins of Indian mission era (10/6)
Sac and Fox Nation disappointed by denial of Jim Thorpe case (10/6)
Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe expects big crowd for pot kickoff (10/6)
Colville Tribes pass resolution for small amounts of marijuana (10/6)
Disaster declaration covers Catawba Nation in South Carolina (10/6)
Leader of Comanche Nation disputes removal of administrator (10/6)
Osage Nation accuses former employee of adding non-Indians (10/6)
Donald Trump doesn't think NFL team's racist name should go (10/6)
Supreme Court declines to hear appeals in two gaming cases (10/6)
San Pasqual Band loses claim for damages in gaming dispute (10/6)
New Eastern Cherokee chief takes aim at gaming commission (10/6)
Chemehuevi Tribe hosts public hearing for new gaming facility (10/6)
Little Traverse Bay Bands consider Class II for second casino (10/6)
Supreme Court rejects petitions in four more Indian law cases (10/5)
Senate Indian Affairs Committee weighs seven bills at hearing (10/5)
Senate Indian Affairs Committee schedules business meeting (10/5)
Secretary Jewell heads to Oklahoma for tribal trust settlement (10/5)
IHS reopens comment period for Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe (10/5)
BIA backs extension of Rosebud Sioux Tribe gaming compact (10/5)
Native Sun News: Code Talker medals seen in traveling exhibit (10/5)
Lakota Country Times: Oglala Sioux Tribe and FEMA cooperate (10/5)
James Giago Davies: Don't let dominant culture dumb us down (10/5)
Vi Waln: Domestic violence comes in many forms on reservation (10/5)
Gyasi Ross: Republicans play games with Native women's rights (10/5)
Rosanna Deerchild: A terrifying reality facing indigenous women (10/5)
Steve Russell: Indians met Christianity at its most violent phase (10/5)
Alex Jacobs: Pope Francis honors symbol of genocide in America (10/5)
Joseph Hamilton: Tribal leaders must talk about disenrollments (10/5)
Tara Houska: Horror film treats Native peoples as relics of past (10/5)
Cow Creek Band employee lost son in deadly shooting in Oregon (10/5)
Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe fully booked for launch of pot resort (10/5)
Chukchansi Tribe picks leaders and hires gaming commissioners (10/5)
Cowlitz Tribe turned down Donald Trump for gaming partnership (10/5)
Eastern Cherokees see tangible benefits from gaming enterprise (10/5)
Navajo Nation to offer housing for employees of casino in Arizona (10/5)
Poarch Creeks lose ruling over slot machines at Florida racetrack (10/5)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.