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Question
Hello Ms. Fitzgerald,

Last year, on July 17, 2015, more or less, I asked you a question about how our great-uncle Larry had died and had no children.

I stated that some of our cousins had signed a lease with an energy company but several other cousins had not.

Your response was that we should contact the oil company which we did. The division order analyst informed me that she was having trouble locating the files concerning the lease in question. That they were an acquisition company and had not done the initial owner search etc. That she was going to have to "look" for the boxes in a warehouse.

After getting the run-around from the company, we decided to contact an attorney for his assistance in getting information from the oil and gas company.

After telling him our story, he said that an oil company only had to go back 4 years to pay royalties to any new heirs that would show up years later such as in our case. When I first contacted you in July 2015, I failed to mention that the lease was signed in 1987.

Also, no Affidavit of Heirship was ever filed with a County Clerk naming all of the heirs to Uncle Larry's inheritance. Which is why only one family signed a lease over 30 years ago.

Ms. Fitzgerald, is this correct about a oil company only having to go back 4 years in royalties to any new heirs that show up 30 years later such as the case with us?

Also, is their some law in the books which I could research and show the family?

Thank you Ms. Fitzgerald for the attention you have given my question.

Answer
Nicolas,
Good work! You've contacted the oil company and been able to make contact with the division order analyst.  Sometimes that's even very difficult to accomplish!
There are different laws for different states, and I am only well experienced with Louisiana mineral title, but yes, there is a limitation on how far back an oil company has to go back to pay on past production.  However, each state requires oil and gas companies to report their 'escrowed or suspended funds'. This is where the funds go that are not paid out to the owners due to bad addresses, deaths, etc.  
So I would also recommend that you check with your state's unclaimed funds division to see if there is any money identified as being for the 'heirs of'.  
I would encourage your family to file an Affidavit of Heirship for your uncle as soon as possible. This will notify all third parties who the proper heirs are of your uncle's.  A company can only rely on public records to identify the proper heirs, unless they are presented with a death certificate which specifies who the heirs are, which is furnished to them in writing sent by certified mail.
Best of luck Nicolas.

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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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