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I inherited some producing minerals.....what next?

Nothing in this life is forever.

Let's take a scenario.  Mom and Dad owned some minerals and they have been receiving royalty checks for years.

Mom and Dad went on to their reward and the checks still come to their old address in their name.  How do you get them in your name?

First, title must reside somewhere.  When a death occurs, the land(s) belong to the Estate of the deceased.  In other jurisdictions, it may be called something else (like Succession in Louisiana), but the theory is the same. Title must reside somewhere.

The oil company will not know who to properly pay until they are furnished proof of ownership.  Some people think that it is the job of the oil company to keep track of every death and every conveyance and automatically just seem to know whom to pay.  It just does not work that way.

The first really operative agreement in the oil business is the Oil, Gas and Mineral Lease.  There is a saying, "No grease without the lease."

That document actually makes provision on exactly what to do when lands are transferred.  The following comes right out of the most popular lease form in the State of Texas, to wit:

"7. The rights of either party hereunder may be assigned in whole or in part, and the provisions hereof shall extend to their heirs, successors and assigns; but no change or division in ownership of the land, or royalties, however accomplished, shall operate to enlarge the obligations or diminish the rights of Lessee; and no change or division in such ownership shall be binding on Lessee until thirty (30) days after Lessee shall have been furnished by registered U.S. mail at Lessee’s principal place of business with a certified copy of recorded instrument or instruments evidencing same. In the event of assignment hereof in whole or in part, liability for breach of any obligation hereunder shall rest exclusively upon the owner of this lease or of a portion thereof who commits such breach. If six or more parties become entitled to royalty hereunder, Lessee may withhold payment thereof unless and until furnished with a recordable instrument executed by all such parties designating an agent to receive payment for all."

So, there you have it.  Look where I added the emphasis.

The burden is on the successor lessor to furnish a certified copy of such instrument translating title into them.

You *inherited* some minerals from Mom and Dad.  Did you?  Or did title to the minerals go straight to their Estate or Succession?  Was a probate opened?  Was an Executor or Administrator appointed?  If an Estate was opened, was there a conveyance from the Estate to you?  Were any Estate or Inheritance Taxes due and paid? If no Estate was opened, why not?

There are lots of questions here that the oil company needs answered before they can release the funds from the Estate (or holding funds) to a third party.  The oil company needs to be absolutely certain as to the proper ownership.

To take things in order, 

1.  If an estate was created and a probate opened, title goes to the Estate.  This assumes that the minerals were owned in fee, and not as a life estate or joint tenancy with the rights of survivorship.

2.  If an estate was opened, an Executor was either named in the will, or appointed by the court.  If there was no will, an Administrator was appointed by the court.

3.  The Executor or Administrator will need to contact the oil company and see what documents that they will need to change their records so that checks come to the Estate.  Likely, Letters Testamentary, Order opening the Estate, etc.

4.  Furnish the oil company with documents that they require to change their records.

5.  If you are an heir of Mom and Dad and inherited the mineral rights, you will need to have the minerals transferred from the Estate of Mom and Dad to you.  This is generally done by an Executor's Deed.  A certified copy of which will need to be sent to the oil company.

Don't just jump in and file an Affidavit of Heirship and expect for it to be automatically accepted by the oil company.  Each oil company has their own requirements for changing records concerning the disbursement of funds.

This can all very quickly get past the capability of most successors Lessors to accomplish without legal help.

Therefore, get legal help.


Buddy Cotten

Mineral Manager

Views: 2047


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Comment by Buddy Cotten on February 25, 2018 at 1:41am

Dear Ms. Coombes,

You have found out something valuable.  Fairness and justice are not interchangable terms.

As to an attorney recommendation, most attorneys on this website do offer an initial consultation at no charge.  By being a member of this website and responding, they are holding themselves up to be a professional in their field.

If it were me, I would reach out to those who offer to help with no expectation of a future relationship.  To me, that is a decent thing to do.


Buddy Cotten

Mineral Manager

Comment by Anna Coombes on February 21, 2018 at 5:08pm

Also can you recommend an attorney that also covers probate law?  There were a few irregularities with the will.

Comment by Anna Coombes on February 21, 2018 at 5:01pm

This seems unfair considering we were kept in the dark about our rights in Texas as legal heirs and that we were even lied to about the value of the properties.  Both the attorney and my uncle knew that without our signatures we retained interest in these properties.  In the state of Washington where I live a professional is not allowed to withhold information they have because of their position that will benefit them.  One also can not transfer property without knowing what one is transfer so there must be a legal description.   I guess the laws in Texas are very different.    We were not told the property included mineral rights not just land and that there was actually more than one property.

Comment by Patrick J. Flueckiger on February 21, 2018 at 10:01am

Dear Ms. Coombes,

The deed you described could be valid in terms of its form. As to the legal description, the language purporting to convey all interests in Texas is extremely broad but it is nonetheless a valid description since the specific interests owned by a grantor in Texas could be established with certainty. However, even if the form of a deed is proper, the deed could be voidable by a court based on factors including but not limited to fraud or mistake. However, the burden of proof is on the grantor.

Any specific application of the above issues to your questions would require a detailed review of the instrument in question and the particular circumstances surrounding its execution.

Patrick Flueckiger
Attorney At Law – Texas Land and Mineral Law

Disclaimer: This post is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice, nor does it establish an attorney client relationship.

Comment by Buddy Cotten on February 20, 2018 at 8:36pm

Dear Ms. Coombes,

This document clearly transfers any property in Texas.  I would not sign it.  I would like to have one of resident attorneys weigh in on this one as to its legal sufficiency.


Buddy Cotten

Mineral Manager

Comment by Anna Coombes on February 19, 2018 at 7:35pm

Thanks Buddy,

I greatly appreciate your time. 

I apologize for the wordiness of this comment but I am desperate.

There was no monetary consideration offered. The deed does say "in consideration of the premises, (the grantors) have granted, bargained, sold and conveyed, and by these presents do hereby grant, bargain. sell and convey unto (Grantee) all of grantors right, title and interests in and to any and all interest which were owned by decedent  in lands located  in the state of Texas.

I need to find  an attorney that can answer:

A.  Is this contract sufficient to transfer the property especially considering we were never told what it really was we were transferring?

   and did the fact that they withheld the information regarding our rights as heirs at law?

   and does the lack of legal description have any bearing?

B.  Does the transfer mean we conveyed all properties including the Mineral rights or just the land?

C. How many properties did she hold and what would their estimated values be?

I admit it was rather stupid of us to sign this transfer but at the time we were told by my uncle that the property had no value and that he was annoyed with his attorney for insisting he get us to sign the transfer.  My Uncle said it was just an annoying little legal formality. He had lived with my mother for many years so we were trying to alleviate any stress he may have been feeling.  We would have felt differently if we had known he would discontinue our friendly relationship  from that day forward. 

Thank you again for your time.  We would be grateful for anymore information.


Comment by Buddy Cotten on February 18, 2018 at 6:11pm

Dear Ms. Coombes,

I have seen legal descriptions to be, " ...all lands owned or claimed by Grantor in Henderson County, Texas..."  Although it may be legally sufficient in many jurisdictions, I prefer to see a description that I can easily locate either on the ground or on a plat.

Consideration is required.  An example of consideration could be, "In consideration of the love and affection that I have for my daughter, I do hereby grant, set over and assign unit Grantee..."  Therefore, consideration need not be monetary in nature. It could be, "In consideration of the mutual covenants and promises contained herein, Grantor does hereby grant, set over and assign unto Grantee..."

I hope that this clarifies things somewhat.


Buddy Cotten

Mineral Manager

Comment by Anna Coombes on February 17, 2018 at 9:46pm

Can mineral rights be signed over to another person without a legal description?  And without compensation?

Comment by Buddy Cotten on February 3, 2018 at 4:16am

Ma. Murphy,

I am not aware of a Grady County, Texas.  

There is a Grady, Texas (city).

There is a Grady County, OK.

Can you offer some clarity?


Buddy Cotten

Mineral Manager

Comment by JoAnne Murphy on February 2, 2018 at 2:28pm

Can anyone recommend a mineral rights attorney in the Grady County area?  Tx

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