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Question
Hello Ms. Fitzgerald,

Recently, we learned that our first cousins,(family 1) had been told that they had property from our great uncle whom I will refer to as Great-Uncle Larry. Uncle Larry died intestate.

1.  Uncle Larry was married but they had no children.

2.  His wife, died first, before Uncle Larry. Her share of the estate went to her side of the family. She also died intestate.

3.  My question is in regards to Uncle Larry's share of their estate.

4. Uncle Larry had three brothers,(family one mentioned above), and our grandfather (family two), and another brother (family three).

Family one were the only ones informed that they had inherited from Uncle Larry as his survivors and they signed an O&G lease with some very good producing gas wells.

Family two and three were never told that they inherited by descent & distribution like "family one".

We have been told that being that Uncle Larry did not leave a will, that all of his brothers inherit, not just the family one.
We were told that in a family tree chart, if someone dies like Uncle Larry without children or a will, that his property goes "back up" in a family tree chart to his parents if they are still alive and then to the rest of his siblings or their descendants.

Ms. Fitzgerald, do families two and three also inherit from Uncle Larry?

I hope I have been able to adequately explain our situation.

Thank you Ms. Fitzgerald for your attention to my question.

Answer
Nicolas,
You are correct, if your Uncle Larry died without a will (intestate), his interest would be distributed equally amongst his collaterals (siblings), and then by stripes (children of his deceased siblings).  

Usually, an oil and gas company will obtain an Affidavit of Heirship for a deceased owner, from a disinterested third party, in order that the proper heirs be recognized, IF there was no succession filed on the deceased owner.  

If you know who the operator is of the wells, then I would suggest you write them a letter inquiring about the interest of your deceased uncle, and how they are distributing his interest.  In this same letter, if you could go ahead and advise them of the facts about your uncle's death; that he died without children/heirs, without a will, and his siblings were: (and state their full legal names, including whether each sibling is living or deceased; and if deceased provide the names of the sibling's children's full legal names, and the place of residence, (town and city).  

This should cause enough concern with the Land Dept. of the Operator, for someone to contact you about your uncle's interest.

Again, I suggest you make your request in writing, preferably sending it by certified mail, return receipt requested, so that you will have written documentation of your notification to the Operator.

Best of luck, and thank you for allowing me to assist you.  

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Laura M. FitzGerald, CPL

Expertise

PLEASE READ CAREFULLY BEFORE SUBMITTING A QUESTION. I can answer all questions related to oil and gas ownership, mineral interests and working interests concerning the leasing and selling of your minerals, any questions concerning pipeline ROW's, units with the Louisiana Department of Conservation; pooling provisions, depth limitations, vertical or horizontal pugh clauses; and oil and gas terminology. I can offer assistance in negotiating for leasing your property, assisting in locating owners of suspended funds or to receive the best offer for your oil and gas interests, should you desire to sell. I am only able to answer questions regarding oil and gas leases, minerals, royalties, or offers to purchase mineral/royalty interests if I have complete information. Please provide a full legal description for your interest(s). If the question pertains to a lease, please include all terms of any current (or desired) lease offers, including lease bonus amount, royalty and lease term. If the question is regarding a mineral or royalty interest offer to purchase, please provide the offer amount, date of offer, other offer terms, and further details on the mineral/royalty interest, such as lease terms, and if producing, the average monthly income. Since I receive numerous inquiries daily, I am only able to answer your questions efficiently and effectively if I have complete information. I must decline any questions submitted with incomplete information. If your question is non-technical in nature and you simply need assistance understanding an oil and gas matter, please submit your question with as much information and detail as possible. Any background information that has led to your question is also very helpful.

Experience

I have over 34 years experience as an Independent Petroleum Landman. I became a Landman after working as a paralegal for Oil & Gas Attorneys for 8 years. My first 2 years were spent specializing in Well History and Research with the Louisiana Department of Conservation, then moving into clearing title defects and handling title curative for oil and gas properties for the next 6 years. Subsequent thereto, I handled title issues, buying oil and gas leases and settling surface damages. I also acquired acreage for drilling prospects in excess of 10,000 acres. I also became a mineral/royalty owner commencing in 2004 and have found that I can help many people when they have reached the point in their lives they feel converting their minerals or royalties into a cash asset benefits them.

Organizations
American Association for Professional Landmen, ArkLaTex Assoc. of Professional Landmen, and Dallas Association of Professional Landmen (DAPL), Certified by the Women's Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC)- South. This certification is one of the most widely recognized and respected certifications in the nation. This designation is reserved for only those women-led businesses that exemplify the characteristics of integrity and professionalism to which the WBENC adheres to so strictly.

Education/Credentials
Attended LSU, became a Certified Professional Landman in 1994; Notary Public with dual authority in multiple parishes in North Louisiana; Bilingual in English and Greek

Awards and Honors
Expert Oil & Gas Professional assisting attorneys representing landowners. Involved in 2 lawsuits and both suits were awarded to the landowner. Ilios Resources, Inc. has been awarded the Best of Shreveport Oil and Gas Mineral Buyer Award for 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013 and 2012.

Past/Present Clients
Consultant Landman for Texas Oil & Gas (TXO Production Corp.), Anadarko Petroleum, Comstock Resources,Independent Geologists, Pipeline ROW Clients, and Oil & Gas Attorneys. For the past 5 years my practice is primarily an advocacy for the landowner. I also assist royalty owners recover suspended payments or incorrect royalty payments, or sell their mineral or royalty interest.

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