You are here:

Oil/Gas/Proving Heirship of Mineral Rights

Advertisement


Question
My two sisters and I inherited the mineral rights for 5 acres in Dewey County, OK, Section 33, 17N 16W from our mother who died in California in 1992. The five acres of mineral rights is part of a total 20 acres of mineral rights co-owned by our three aunts. Over the last 20 years, Jackfork and/or Reagan Resources have leased the mineral rights from all of us without any problems. An Affidavit of Heirship was filed in Dewey County in 2006, which Jackford Land, Inc has a copy. In February, we received a new lease from Jackfork Land Inc, retained by Continental Resources, for leasing the mineral rights for a term of three years. My sisters and I have all signed, notarized and returned our forms as we have done in the past. Jackfork has informed us that Continental Resources wants a copy of the Last Will and Testament to prove heirship before paying us for the lease. My sister in California, executor of the trust, has just discovered that there was a Pour Over Will BUT that the mineral rights were never listed in the Will or the Trust. The Trust was divided evenly between my sisters and six grandchildren. The estate did not go through Probate and the Will was never lodged. Our aunts have received their share of the lease distribution without any problems. How do you recommend we prove heirship or get a marketable title or deed? Do you think the mineral rights must go through California Probate?

Thanks for any suggestions!
Mary

Answer
Continental is just being "picky" I think, or perhaps has some reason to believe you did not inherit from your mother and so is asking for "proof." Most companies will lease heirs with a simple affidavit of heirship as you've done in the past, but apparently Continental is not willing to do so, which is of course their prerogative.

However even if they were willing, the affidavit does NOT actually transfer title to you. In order to do that you will need to have your mother's estate probated IN OKLAHOMA I'm afraid, or have an "ancillary probate" done in Oklahoma after it's been done in California. Probating only in California will not help you with property located outside of California. If a producing well were ever drilled here it's almost certain that whoever the operator was they would require an Oklahoma probate of your mother's estate before they would begin paying you royalty, so probably best to get it done even for "just" a lease, as you may eventually be forced to have it done anyway.

You would also need to have an Oklahoma probate done in the event you ever decide to sell these minerals, or at the very least would need to find a buyer willing to pay for it out of what he/she paid you for them. I do come across buyers willing to do that on occasion when dealing with properties sold on the Mineral Hub.

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

Oil/Gas

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Frederick M. Scott

Expertise

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.

Experience

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.

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

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

Education/Credentials
Certified Mineral Manager (CMM), Registered Professional Landman (RPL)

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.