Energy Industry (Oil & Gas)/Probate


I lived in Idaho when my spouse passed thus the will was probated in that state. I was appointed personal rep. And than the estate was probated and closed .  This was in 2010,  now some minerals I received from my spouse are being drilled on.  the oil co is saying I need to do an ancillary probate.  could you explain the process and approximate time and normal cost of this .  thank you Ann

Hello Ann.  An interesting fact is that real property that a deceased owns in another state passes according to the laws of that state, rather than the state laws of the deceased's state.  Accordingly, ancillary probate proceedings are in addition to the primary probate proceeding, and are conducted in the state where the real property is located so that the foreign will can be probated there.   The process could cost about the same as the original probate proceeding and involve the same amount of time, but in most cases things should move quicker and be less expensive than the primary probate.   Of course, you will incur additional court costs, attorneys fees and accounting fees.  Before you get too discouraged, however, states often have alternatives to ancillary probate proceedings.  In Texas, for example, ancillary probate proceedings can be avoided by filing certain exemplified copies of the foreign probate in the county records where the land is located.

You need to consult an attorney in the state where the real estate is located to see what procedures are required there, and to see what the costs will be.    Good luck and let me know if you have any other questions.  

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David B. McCall


Questions regarding oil and gas exploration and production, the operation and management of oil and gas producing properties, and questions related to mineral ownership, title problems, and oil and gas leases.


I am Board Certified in Oil, Gas and Mineral Law in the state of Texas. I have more than 37 years of experience in the industry as both an in house attorney for major oil companies and as a partner in oil and gas firms. I am also a mineral owner and receive royalties from oil and gas production. I have extensive title examination experience, and have represented clients in many administrative and court proceedings.

State Bar of Texas, Texas Bar Foundation, and Austin Bar Foundation.

Various state bar seminars on Oil and Gas matters.

I have a business degree in marketing from McMurry University, 1971, and a JD degree from Texas Tech University in 1974, where I graduated 17th in my class. Board Certified in Oil, Gas and Mineral Law in 1986.

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