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Oil/Gas/Mineral rights ownership


My wife and I were administrators of her mother's estate.  She lived in Oklahoma for many years, and when she died, in Texas, we thought she had no assets in OK or Texas.  Her will was not probated in OK (shame on us).  Nine years after her death we were surprised when an oil company wanted to lease her mother's 30+ acres in Lincoln County, OK.

My questions are: 1) How might be the best way to establish ownership of these mineral rights for her heirs.  2)Should the Lincoln County Clerk be able to furnish a copy of the deed to her mother's mineral rights.

Oil companies generally accept one of two ways to cure title when an owner passes away and the courthouse records are not updated where the owner's land is located.  It sounds like her will was probated in Texas, which would have been the correct jurisdiction if that was the state of her last legal residence, so here are the answers to your two questions:

Question 1: Two choices.
1) Pay a lawyer in Lincoln County to do there what is called ancillary probate of her will.  It essentially is asking the Lincoln County probate court to look at the will probated in Texas as declare that there is nothing in the probate of it that violates Oklahoma probate laws.  Depending on the lawyer, this can cost between a few hundred and a few thousand dollars.  Ouch.  But the main benefit of this is that you make certain that whoever your mother-in-law left her mineral rights to in her will is the person who will have title pass to them.

2) Complete an Affidavit of Death and Heirship form appropriate for Oklahoma and file it into the Deed Records of Lincoln County, Oklahoma. The downside of this is that the mineral rights must pass to the heirs at law, without any consideration at all for who is named in the will to receive them.  In other words, if your wife was bequeathed all of any real property interests held by her mother at the time of her death, but she has siblings or surviving children of deceased siblings, she only gets a proportionate part of the mineral rights--her siblings or nieces/nephews will get a portion of them.  But you don't need a lawyer to fill out and file an Affidavit of Death and Heirship.

I very strongly recommend that you do a one-visit consultation with an attorney licensed in Oklahoma (they are easy to find here in Texas) to advise you on which way to go on this.

Answer to your second question:
The Lincoln County Clerk can only furnish a copy of whatever is already filed of record in the county, or file of record a proper document furnished to them for recording.  They cannot prepare documents.  Depending on how your mother-in-law acquired her rights, there should either be a deed already filed of record proving she owned these rights at the time of her death, or there should be a probate record showing how she inherited them and how much she acquired.  Again, an attorney licensed in Oklahoma would be able to help you with all of this.  


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Marsha Breazeale, M.Ed., CDOA, CPLTA


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.


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.

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)

"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 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

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