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Oil/Gas/Mineral rights and small estate affidavit


Hello, My Mom passed away and the only asset that I failed to take care of is mineral rights to a gas well in another county for 35 acres. I transferred the property years ago but the Warranty deed that I had drawn up had an exclusion of mineral rights. I am the only child and there is a valid will stating I am the recipient. The Gas lease company that pays monthly royalties will not transfer the mineral rights without some type of document stating the mineral rights and now a suspense account that they started. I noticed the Affidavit of heirship does not have a space to list any assets, the small estate affidavit does and I don't mind paying to file it. The appraised value is 6K, I hate to spend 1K to probate for one small asset. Even though I have a will and I thinking the Small Estate Affidavit or can I list out the assets on the Tarrant county Affidavit of heirship form?  Any advice would be helpful. Thanks

The affidavit of heirship is the document that I recommend even though it is not directly an instrument of conveyance - though the end result is such.  Therefore, normally the instrument will not have a location for land description/assets.  There is nothing wrong with adding a sentence about the minerals and that the affidavit is specifically to convey the mineral estate.  Any property that belonged to your Mom, in the standard Affidavit, would pass to you or the heirs as identified by the instrument.  Placing a sentence about the minerals may serve to limit the affidavit to just what is listed.

If your Mom was a resident of Texas, you would only have 4 years to begin the probate process.  If this time period has passed then you would only be left with the Affidavit route.

You will want to have the affidavit of heirship executed before a Notary Public by two people who are disinterested parties AND who know about the heirship information related to your family.  It is important to have two as that is the statutory requirement.  Record the instrument in Tarrant County and then forward a copy to the oil and gas company.  Affidavits with only one appear all the time in title and I just write a requirement that they must have it re-executed with two knowledgeable witnesses.

This should clear up your issue and allow the company to release the suspended funds.  Feel free to send any followup questions you might have.


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Cliff Williams


I will try to answer any question you have. Even if I reject a question, I still will give a shot at what I would do in your position. The only questions I will not take a shot at would be a highly technical engineering or geological question. I am beginning to see quite a few questions from land men and other oil companies and that doesn't matter to me either. I will attempt to help.


I am an oil and gas attorney that has been in the business for more than 20 years. I have held a series 22 and 63 securities license, been in oil and gas operations, land man, division order analyst all prior to obtaining my law degree. Today, I typically write title opinions verifying ownership of oil and gas minerals, assist landowners in negotiations on oil, gas and mineral leases, easements and conveyances. I also assist oil and gas companies with the sale of working interest ownership as well as common business law issues.

State Bar of Texas, Member of the Tarrant County Bar and the Dallas County Bar Associations.

Multiple oil and gas topical columns on

I have a B.S. degree which I rely upon more than my Business Mgmt degree or Law degree...

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Husband and father of 26 years

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