indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+
ph: 202 630 8439
Fredericks Peebles & Morgan LLP
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: Violence against Native women is on the rise (10/24)
Morgan Howard: Corporate dividends confict with Tlingit values (10/24)
David Wilkins: Abandon the Doctrine of Discovery in Indian law (10/24)
Navajo Nation candidate Chris Deschene won't halt campaign (10/24)
Tribes receive $1.2M in Sovereignty in Indian Education funds (10/24)
Language preservation a top issue as AFN opens annual meet (10/24)
Rep. Don Young to speak to Alaska Natives amid controversy (10/24)
Think Progress: South Dakota county suppresses Native vote (10/24)
Opinion: Tribes turn their acumen to Internet lending industry (10/24)
Chickasaw Nation signs compact with state for license plates (10/24)
Federal judge won't be removed from Miccosukee Tribe's case (10/24)
Radio: NPS allowed destruction of tribal burial mounds in Iowa (10/24)
BIA announces intent to put Cowlitz Tribe gaming site in trust (10/24)
Feinstein opposes North Fork Rancheria off-reservation casino (10/24)
Salt River Tribe arrests man who left children in casino garage (10/24)
Closure of Chukchansi Tribe's casino could affect contributions (10/24)
Opinion: Shinnecock Nation's casino plans remain under cloud (10/24)
Native Sun News: Oglala Sioux Tribe heads to election season (10/23)
Al Caroll: Recognize tribal sovereignty in new US Constitution (10/23)
Michael Baines: Senate candidate battles Alaska Native rights (10/23)
President Barack Obama urges early voting for Alaska Natives (10/23)
Ho-Chunk Nation woman named president of Girl Scouts board (10/23)
3rd Circuit won't force town to repatriate Jim Thorpe's remains (10/23)
Navajo Nation's top court orders new ballots without candidate (10/23)
Alaska Federation of Natives ready to open annual convention (10/23)
Alaska governor to sign Native languages bill six months later (10/23)
Rep. Don Young blames government 'largesse' for suicide rate (10/23)
Washington player says tattoo represents Cherokee heritage (10/23)
Crow Tribe seeks renewal of Indian Coal Production Tax Credit (10/23)
Native advocates come together to combat domestic violence (10/23)
Agua Caliente Band and DOJ submit briefs in water rights case (10/23)
Former health executive from Chippewa Cree Tribe sentenced (10/23)
Final person sentenced in theft from Blackfeet Nation program (10/23)
Opinion: Tribes exploit loopholes in America's political system (10/23)
Otoe-Missouria Tribe announces plans for new gaming facility (10/23)
Rival leaders of Chukchansi Tribe to meet amid casino closure (10/23)
Navajo Nation challenges lawsuit over death of casino patron (10/23)
Law Article: Judge restricts BIA authority in Class III dispute (10/23)
Column: Election won't end North Fork off-reservation casino (10/23)
Eyapaha Today: Oneida singer follows in mother's footsteps (10/22)
Native Sun News: Candidate seeks investigation into program (10/22)
Ivan Star Comes Out: Lakota people disrespect our language (10/22)
Cedric Sunray: Standing together to fight tribal disenrollment (10/22)
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.