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Oil/Gas/transfer of Texas mineral rights from deceased relative

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Question
My uncle died some years ago in Texas, leaving me his mineral rights to a few tracts in Texas.  My mother died last year and my sister and I are heirs to her mineral rights in the same tracts.  How do we go about effecting the transfers ?  I live in NC and my sister is in NY.

Answer
You say your uncle died and left you his mineral rights to land in Texas.  For that to have occurred, he must have left a Will and that Will must have been probated.  Without a probated Will, the Texas laws of descent and distribution would have applied, and your sister that you mention here would have inherited an equal share of his interest, at the very least.  So I assume there was a Will and it was probated.  If the Will was probated in the Texas county where the land is located, you don't need to do anything because the transfer is already part of the public record there. But if it was probated anywhere else, you need to obtain an exemplified copy of the Will, Order Admitting Will to Probate and Letters Testamentary (or Administration, if the Executor/trix named in the Will was not appointed by the court and a substitute had to be made).  You can get that from the probate court where the Will was probated.  Send that to be filed into the Deed Records or Official Records (used by many Texas counties now) of the county where the land is located, and the transfer to you will be made of record and complete.  If the land is producing oil or gas, you will need to contact the revenue remitter to find out what copies of documents their company policy will require for the division order analyst there to change their records and begin paying you.

As for your mother's mineral rights, to be "heirs" she would have either died without a Will, or her Will was not/will not be probated.  If that's the case, you will need to find someone having first-hand knowledge of all of your mother's marriages and any children ever born to or adopted by her, willing to sign an Affidavit of Death and Heirship under penalties of perjury. Then you will file that ADH (Affidavit) with a certified copy of her death certificate attached, into the Deed Records or Official Records of the county where the land is located.  If she did leave a Will, and that Will will be, is being, or will be probated, you will follow the same procedure that I described above for your uncle.

Filing the proper estate paperwork into the Deed Records or Official Records of the county where the land is located is allowed in Texas because we don't have what is called "ancillary probate" requiring additional probate of a Will here in Texas to "approve" of the probate done on it in the other jurisdiction.

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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

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