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Oil/Gas/Family Member Claiming Mineral Rights as their own


Hello Mick. I believe we have stumbled onto a legal dispute involving my uncle in Hughes County, OK. We recently discovered through family channels that he has been collecting royalty checks on some mineral rights that were listed as unclaimed property which belonged to my great grandfather (his grandfather). We believe he has lied about being the sole heir to an oil producer. My mother and I have wills, death certificates, etc, that clearly tie him as well as my mother, and his children as joint heirs. We are planning a visit to the county deeds records this week to verify our claim. I need to know how to proceed once we locate the township/section/range. We assume that an affidavit of heirship will help clear things up, but he is currently receiving payment from an unknown well operator. Will that operator information be available at the county clerk? Should we be able to contact the operator and have them suspend his payments? Will we need a court order to correct the ownership? Will there be any restitution for what we believe to be him perjuring himself in a false affidavit?

thanks for any help.

It's likely that you will need to have a judicial determination done (i.e. a probate or quiet title suit) to determine who legally has ownership of these minerals in the event there is a dispute (which apparently there is.) As far as the oil company is concerned, if you notify them that there is a dispute they may agree to put future royalty payments into a "suspense" account until it is determined who owns what. You can find out who the operator of the well is from the check stubs if you can obtain them, or if not, through the Oklahoma Corporation Commission's website, or by calling them. You'll need the legal description first however, in order to locate the well.

If your great-grandfather's estate was never probated then it's possible your uncle IS an heir, since it was his grandfather, but perhaps not the only heir, as he's apparently claiming. Again, you might have to have a judge sort all this out. It's likely the uncle probably filed an affidavit already, so filing one yourself really won't give you (or him) actual title to the minerals, though it might convince an oil company to pay him (as is apparently being done.)

As for restitution, that would also be up to a judge to decide.

Hope this helps you out.
Frederick M. "Mick" Scott CMM, RPL
The Mineral Hub  


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Frederick M. Scott


Oil and gas leasing, lease negotiations, how to best deal with the oil and gas companies or their representatives, buying/selling mineral rights, forced-pooling, correlative rights, deeds and conveyances, and "post-production" costs. I am most experienced with Oklahoma properties and laws, but am able to answer questions concerning other oil and gas producing states in many cases.


I am a Certified Professional Mineral Manager (CMM) certified by the National Association of Royalty Owners (NARO) in Tulsa, OK. I am also a Registered Professional Landman (RPL) with the American Association of Professional Landmen (AAPL). I have managed my family's oil and gas properties in Oklahoma for over 10 years and have dealt with many landmen, title analysts, attorneys and other oil and gas professionals in the process. I have written several articles which have appeared in various oil and gas industry magazines and newsletters. I have negotiated and drafted leases, prepared deeds, affidavits, and other legal instruments relating to my own minerals, as well as performed title, legal research, and curative work for same. I have acquired a good deal of knowledge on the subjects of oil and gas law, mineral appraisal, and landwork over the past ten years, and also worked as a professional landman and lease buyer for a time. I've seen the business from "both sides" and therefore feel confident I can help out most of the folks who ask questions in this forum.

National Association of Royalty Owners (NARO); American Association of Professional Landmen (AAPL)

National Association of Royalty Owners "Action Report" (ROAR); NADOA Magazine, The Mineral Hub, Landman Magazine, and several royalty owner association group's newsletters.

Certified Mineral Manager (CMM), Registered Professional Landman (RPL)

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