indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+
ph: 202 630 8439   fax: 202 318 2182
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...
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Native Sun News: Indian farmers question Keepseagle attorneys (8/22)
Brandon Ecoffey: Navajo golfer Rickie Fowler is a fast-rising star (8/22)
Oglala Sioux leader and educator Gerald One Feather passes on (8/22)
Indigenous Fine Arts Market kicks off big weekend in New Mexico (8/22)
Gyasi Ross: Native people are all too familiar with police brutality (8/22)
Melanie Yazzie: Border town violence connected to colonization (8/22)
Ray Young Bear: No tribal member wants to be known by R-word (8/22)
Washington Post: Editorial board will no longer use R-word 'slur' (8/22)
Matthew Murguia: The facts are clear on Washington NFL mascot (8/22)
Three Indian artists selected as NEA's National Heritage Fellows (8/22)
President of Navajo Nation bans smoking in executive buildings (8/22)
Recently recognized Tejon Tribe to close enrollment next month (8/22)
Cowlitz Tribe pays $1.4M for building to be used as medical office (8/22)
Nooksack Tribe must answer to casino loan lawsuit in state court (8/22)
Menominee Nation remains confident with off-reservation casino (8/22)
Forest County Potawatomi Tribe parts ways with 'face' of casino (8/22)
Iipay Nation plans to offer real money Internet poker next week (8/22)
Seneca Nation shared $13.9M in casino revenue with community (8/22)
Native Sun News: DOJ backs tribes in ICWA case in South Dakota (8/21)
Jeffrey Whalen: Oglala Sioux Tribe's police force is in 'shambles' (8/21)
Ryan Wilson: Native language immersion programs need support (8/21)
Oklahoma City Indian Clinic celebrates grand opening of building (8/21)
Walt Lamar: Remove Gary Edwards from law enforcement group (8/21)
Secretary Jewell issues order and guidance on trust relationship (8/21)
Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes see $7.4M for buyback (8/21)
North Dakota tribe accused of concealing data on pipeline spill (8/21)
Navy rejects transfer of surplus property to Narragansett Tribe (8/21)
Kake Tribe returns to site of 1857 deadly attack in Washington (8/21)
Opinion: Nez Perce Tribe defends its homeland from big energy (8/21)
KCUR: Modern and historic Indian art on display in Kansas City (8/21)
Mike Wise: Longtime NFL referee avoided Washington's games (8/21)
Enterprise Rancheria sues state over delayed Class III compact (8/21)
Santee Sioux Tribe working to bring more attractions to casino (8/21)
Mashantucket Tribe sees credit hit as casino competition grows (8/21)
Chumash Tribe to respond to concerns about casino expansion (8/21)
Travel: Smoking allowed at tribal casinos in northern California (8/21)
Native Sun News: Oglala Sioux Tribe gears up for uranium battle (8/20)
Eyapaha Today: J. Waylon Miller leads Friends of Cesar Romero (8/20)
Sandra Fox: Fixing the education system for our Indian children (8/20)
Albert Bender: US-backed genocide in Guatemalan spurs exodus (8/20)
Mark Chavaree: Penobscot Nation fights to save namesake river (8/20)
Mark Rogers: One more day with post-traumatic stress disorder (8/20)
Still no word on Cobell payments as end of August approaches (8/20)
Native boy found safe after going missing for nearly 24 hours (8/20)
9th Circuit allows Lummi Nation to pursue fishing rights claims (8/20)
St. Regis Mohawk Tribe gains support for land claim agreement (8/20)
Delaware Tribe to discuss plans for land with officials in Kansas (8/20)
Wind River Reservation students enjoy back-to-school haircuts (8/20)
Review: Native man serves as anti-hero in 'Winter In The Blood' (8/20)
Bill introduced to extend recognition to Clatsop-Nehalem Tribe (8/20)
Governor pressed on Menominee Nation off-reservation casino (8/20)
Group seeks referendum on Tohono O'odham Nation casino deal (8/20)
Lawmakers approve Class III gaming compact with Karuk Tribe (8/20)
Enterprise Rancheria awaits action on Class III gaming compact (8/20)
Wampanoag casino opponents hope to catch Obama's attention (8/20)
Opinion: Tribal gaming creates short term and long term benefits (8/20)
Native Sun News: Oglala man's business dealings under scrutiny (8/19)
Mark Trahant: Behind the scenes of Obamacare in Indian Country (8/19)
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.