You are here:

Oil/Gas/Affidavit of Heirship

Advertisement


Question
In 2005 my father-in-law inherited mineral rights from his mother-in-law....the mineral rights are in
Carter County Oklahoma.  In 2006 my father-in-law died without a will in Texas. We got an affidavit of heirship in Texas.  We are trying to get the money that Exxon is holding in suspension right now.....the well has been producing since Nov 2012.  The attorney in Ardmore, Oklahoma says the lady who left this to my father-in-law  ( now deceased ) has to have a will probated in Oklahoma too, even though she died in Texas.  Also says that my father-in-law's will has to be probated in Oklahoma as well because the lady died first and he actually inherited it.  There is no will but they said the charges will be between $2500 and $3000 .  Can we use the affidavit that we got here in Texas?  Or do we have to get another one in Oklahoma.  I am fairly intelligent and have been googling and read that "the affidavit of heirship has to be fled of record in the deeds records where the land is located and a certified copy of the recorded document be furnished to the oil company before the records can be changed".    My husband is the only heir as stated in the affidavit.  We are just trying to get the mineral rights in our name.  There is only $2,000 in suspension and the attorney says we will have to pay most likely $3,000 for all the filing of fees......is this something I can go the Carter County Courthouse and do myself?

Answer
There are some important pieces of information missing in your question: did the mother-in-law leave a will and was it probated? If so, where was it probated? If she left a will and it was probated in Texas, the attorney is telling you that Exxon will require that an Ancillary Probate be done in Carter County, Oklahoma. This is a brief process whereby the court in Oklahoma only looks at the terms of the already-probated will and passes judgment on whether or not anything in it conflicts with Oklahoma law. I've never seen one that did. But there might be another way--read below.

If the mother-in-law didn't leave a will or it wasn't probated, was a separate Affidavit of Death and Heirship (ADH) for her filed in Carter County, Oklahoma? Normally, a properly attested ADH (signed by someone not standing in line to inherit from the deceased person) filed into the deed records will be enough to release suspended funds.  Unfortunately, some of the larger companies are now refusing to accept an ADH filed into the deed records because they've been burned by false affidavits. Their legal alternative is to require an Administration of the Estate (a probate proceeding without a will), and that does cost more, but I know you can find an attorney willing to do it for far less than any $3,000. I suggest that you contact attorneys practicing in Carter County.

Another thing you might try is contacting the Carter County probate court clerk and asking how you can do a simple Administration of an Estate on your own, just to pass title on this mineral interest in Carter County. There might be a "small estate affidavit" that you can file directly with the court on your own without an attorney that will allow you to satisfy Exxon's requirements and get the money released.  You would need to do two separate small estate affidavits: one for the mother-in-law and one for your father-in-law. I hope all goes well, but let me know if you have any more questions.

Marsha

Oil/Gas

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Marsha Breazeale, M.Ed., CDOA, CPLTA

Expertise

All questions regarding division orders; ownership decimal calculations; title ownership and payer record changes (testate/intestate inheritance; deed; assignment; court order); oil and gas lease analysis for record-keeping and purposes of payment by operator or payer; pooling, horizontal wells, horizontal well allocation units; unclaimed property reporting; royalty owner relations questions. All questions concerning administration of surface land contracts and payment questions, such as for Surface Right-of-Way, Sub-Surface Right-of-Way, Easement, Surface Use Agreement. All questions regarding industry-standard and company-specific policies that affect land owners.

Experience

Sr. Staff Division Order Analyst. Certified Division Order Analyst (CDOA, National Association of Division Order Analysts) and Certified Lease Analyst (CPLTA, National Association of Professional Lease and Title Analysts) with 35 years of experience as a combination division order analyst and lease analyst in exploration and production in the oil and gas industry.

Organizations
National Assoc. of Division Order Analysts (NADOA), National Association of Division Order Analysts (NALTA), American Association of Professional Landmen (AAPL), American Society of Trainers and Developers (ASTD)

Publications
"How an Oil & Gas Exploration & Production Company Operates" and "Principles of Oil & Gas Lease Analysis: Standard Clauses", Oil Patch Press; Articles in NADOA Magazine; LandFocus EDU Professional Training Manuals

Education/Credentials
B.A.in Management from Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio; M.Ed. in Instructional Design from WGU Texas.

Past/Present Clients
Past 15 years: GeoSouthern Energy Corporation; Contango Oil Co./Crimson Exploration & Operating Inc.; Apache Corporation; BP America; Marathon Oil; Newfield Exploration

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.