Oil/Gas/Affidavit of Heirship - Mineral Interests - Property Descriptions
QUESTION: I am preparing Affidavits of Heirship for my best friend who passed away, and who owned a lot of small oil and gas mineral interests in several counties in Arkansas, and in one county in Oklahoma. A division order analyst I spoke to at SWN said I don't need to put the full property description from the leases - that I can just put the Section-Township-Range, the county and state, and the company the interests were leased to. Is there any other info that I need to specify for the property descriptions? I want to make sure I'm doing it correctly, to eliminate potential transfer problems down the road. My friend died intestate, and has a widow and three grown children (from a separate marriage). I am doing this to help the family. The affidavits will be signed by his sister (not an heir) and myself (as the corroborating affiant). Thank you for any help you can provide!!
ANSWER: The task to keep in mind with this generalized legal description approach is to make it clear that you know they don't own the entire section. Someone else who owns other portions of the section could file suit to clear the cloud from title by you saying they owned Section 11, Township 27N, Range 36W when they only have 1/2 minerals under the SW/4. I suggest adding a reference or source deed which would help to clarify the interest... it would look something like this:
See Volume XXX, Page XXX for a more complete legal description of the subject property.
In the alternative you could state:
Being the same lands described that that certain Oil, Gas, and Mineral Lease dated xx/xx/xxxx by and between Mr. Green and XYZ oil company and recorded in Volume XXX, Page XXX.
The point is the show a researcher how to find the exact property they own in a clear and concise way with the Volume/Page reference.
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QUESTION: Thank you so much for your help! Would the Volume/Page reference be listed somewhere on the recorded lease? I noticed for some leases, he never got a recorded lease back, but did get a bonus lease check (I have all the check stubs and #s for the leases, as well as the "net mineral interest" calculated by the landmen for each lease, which I assume could also be determined by dividing the bonus check amount by the amount he was supposed to receive/per net mineral acre. I do understand that the best way to handle it would be to either: 1) Include all the leases with each affidavit for each county (we have limited funds, so the recording fees would add up quickly for those counties where he has a lot of little interests in the same county, 2) Include just the legal description from each lease for each S-T-R. Just trying to keep recording fees down, but not at the expense of title problems down the road. Would appreciate your thoughts. Thank you again, you've be very helpful!
I would ask each oil company for a copy of the recorded lease document (scanned is usually easy for them to do) or ask them for the references so you can obtain copies. When they give you the document numbers then you will have the reference information. The recording info will be printed on the lease by the county clerk.
Put the S, T, & R on the affidavit along with the reference info. I wouldn't include the lease with the recordings under any circumstance. Too much info and not at all necessary. Just include what you can obtain from the oil companies on these.