indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+
ph: 202 630 8439
Dynamic Homes
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:

Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Native Sun News: Oglala Sioux Tribe battles uranium mine project (4/1)
Mary Grayson: Cherokee Nation race loses only female candidate (4/1)
Editorial: DOI's new fracking regulations strike the right balance (4/1)
Gaming operations proliferate in Texas as state goes after tribes (4/1)
Native Sun News: Ceremony welcomes return of spiritual beings (3/31)
Tribes and families in South Dakota win big victory in ICWA case (3/31)
Non-Indian adoption group disputes BIA's new ICWA guidelines (3/31)
Dennis Chappabitty: How I survived a racist attack in Oklahoma (3/31)
Ellie Reynolds: Native people used as pawns in mascot debates (3/31)
Jordan Wheeler: Fan in fake headdress turned out to be Native (3/31)
Carolina Castoreno: Racism runs rampant in the 'Hoosier State' (3/31)
Tulalip man charged for buying firearm used in school shooting (3/31)
Man charged in stabbing of BIA superintendent in South Dakota (3/31)
Few details about well-being of Lower Brule Sioux Tribe leader (3/31)
Navajo Nation makes headlines as first with tax on junk foods (3/31)
School to use IHS grant to bring Native students into medicine (3/31)
German photographer earns trust on Fort Belknap Reservation (3/31)
Water agencies seek early appeal for Agua Caliente Band case (3/31)
Radio station on Hopi Reservation launches fundraising effort (3/31)
Bureau of Reclamation seeks $20.3M for tribal water projects (3/31)
Metis Nation of Saskatchewan closes doors after losing funds (3/31)
Report puts tribal gaming industry revenues at $28.3B in 2013 (3/31)
Fort Sill Apache Tribe loses bid to force state into gaming deal (3/31)
Santee Sioux Tribe prepares to open casino golf course in June (3/31)
Eastern Shawnee Tribe to welcome visitors to reopened casino (3/31)
Editorial: Cherokee Nation contributes to economy with casino (3/31)
Everything you wanted to know about tribal gaming in Arizona (3/31)
Opinion: Connecticut tribes face challenges to gaming empire (3/31)
Native Sun News: Designation sought at Cheyenne warrior site (3/30)
Lakota Country Times: Efforts to rename sacred peak ramp up (3/30)
Mark Charles: Nation was built on the dehumanization of others (3/30)
Navajo Nation considers agreement for land-buy back program (3/30)
US Attorneys named to lead DOJ Native American subcommittee (3/30)
Kevin Abourezk: Students retrace journey of Chief Standing Bear (3/30)
Patricia Paul: Overcoming hardships and becoming a tribal judge (3/30)
Julianne Jennings: Taking care of our eyesight in Indian Country (3/30)
Police looking for clues after murders of Indian man and woman (3/30)
Chairman Michael Jandreau of Lower Brule Sioux Tribe in hospital (3/30)
Hundreds pay respects to Navajo Nation officer killed on the job (3/30)
Police officer who kicked Native man reinstated in Saskatchewan (3/30)
Native boy with rare disease granted wish to join favorite team (3/30)
Jury rules against Cheyenne River Sioux man in 'KKK' scar case (3/30)
BIA official expected to be released from hospital after stabbing (3/30)
BIA delays ruling on Pamunkey Tribe federal recognition petition (3/30)
Alex White Plume aims to grow hemp on Pine Ridge Reservation (3/30)
Blackfeet Nation opposes energy development on sacred lands (3/30)
Opinion: Don't include Indian Country in BLM fracking regulation (3/30)
Fort Peck Tribes might scale back plans for first gaming facility (3/30)
BIA rejects Menominee Nation off-reservation gaming compact (3/30)
Pokagon Band faces hurdles for a gaming compact with Indiana (3/30)
Nisqually Tribe to open second phase of $45M casino expansion (3/30)
Opinion: Expansion of gaming options not a good idea for Texas (3/30)
Native Sun News: Businesses show support for LNI tournament (3/27)
Lakota Country Times: Oglala Sioux fighter climbing in the ranks (3/27)
Mark Trahant: Alaska Natives look 10,000 years into the future (3/27)
Ivan Star: The influences of boarding school and Vietnam War (3/27)
Gyasi Ross: Funerals become family reunions in Indian Country (3/27)
Tim Giago hands over the reins as publisher of Native Sun News (3/27)
House committee passes Native American Children's Safety Act (3/27)
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.