Advice on acquiring mineral deed

I’m hoping you can give me some advice on sorting out some unclaimed property. I found out that Oklahoma Unclaimed Property is holding 4 accounts under my name that I wasn’t aware of. They are all Mineral Interests with varying amounts from $12 to $1500 at 2N 20E Sec17 in Beaver Co, OK. My brothers also have some unclaimed accounts but they haven’t looked into them yet. I’ve been assigned a contact person in the Unclaimed Property Division and have been told they need a Mineral Deed or a statement with the current property owners’ name. I haven’t been able to find a deed- I have looked through my files, my brother (executor of our father’s will) has looked through his and I’ve checked with OK County Records, who didn’t have a deed on file but did have a Proof of Death and Heirship for my dad and one for his mother. But when I submitted those documents, the unclaimed office now says they will not accept anything but a Mineral Deed in either my name, my dad’s name or my grandmother’s name. I also have a Division Order from Unit Petroleum Co. that lists me as Owner but they will not accept that either. I’ve hit a wall with this and now I’m asking you, The Forum. Any suggestions on where I might find that deed?

Thank you, Desiree Peat

Sounds like there is a probate needed. Get title requirements from entity holding funds. A person named as executor in a Will has no authority until approved by a probate judge.

Ask Unit if they have a copy of the lease that holds the property. That might help. You may still have to go through the probate to get any others.

When you say you checked with OK County Records, do you mean Oklahoma County? Did you check with the clerk of the Beaver County Records to see if anything shows up under either of your parents’ name?

To search Beaver County specifically use

For probate cases start here: OSCN Docket Search

If the will hasn’t been probated, then you’ll have to do that. Once you do, the executor of the estate can execute a mineral deed into you out of your father’s estate. You’ll have to record that deed in the county the minerals are in. They might as well make it a County or Statewide conveyance while they’re at it.

I did search the Beaver County Records specifically and found the Proof of Death and Heirships there. I’ve also been in contact with their office and asked if they had any other documents and was told that was all they had on file. Thank you all for your quick and helpful follow-ups. I will certainly look into all of your suggestions. Looks like probate will be my next plan of attack!

You said that you have a division order from Unit Petroleum Co. that lists you as owner. A division order is normally based on an attorney’s title opinion (usually called a “division order title opnion”) that lists the owners of the property.You should ask Unit Petroleum Co. for a copy of the title opinion and other information they have (such as an abstract of title) that shows that you are an owner of the property. With that information in hand, you could speak to the attorney who wrote the division order title opinion, and ask him/her for a copy of the documents they relied upon to determine your ownership.Those documents should satisfy the Unclaimed Property Division.

The operator will not usually give you a copy of the entire title opinion as they are quite expensive to create. I have not had trouble asking very nicely for a copy of the paragraph of the title opinion that pertains to my ownership.

I will start with asking Unit for a copy of the title opinion or the paragraph Ms. Barnes mentioned if need be and any other info pertaining to my case. They have been very helpful in the past so I’m sure they will offer any documents they have on hand. And I will continue from there. If I come across information that is helpful in obtaining the mineral deed or successfully claiming the accounts that hasn’t been mentioned here, I will share it with you. Thank you all very much for your help!

This is the most likely answer. The company may have title requirements that they are willing to share. These basically describe what is needed to put the royalties into pay status (out of suspense).

Well, Unit says, “Unfortunately, we cannot send the title opinion to royalty owners, and the gentleman who prepared it has passed away.”

If probate is my next option, I’m wondering if $2,392.27 is worth pursuing at this point. I’m also trying to get my affairs in order since I’ve been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. I’m ok, just want to get this stuff done while I can to make it easy on my family in the future.

I would love to hear your opinions on whether or not it’s worth pursuing, not so much for the money, but for passing this on to my son.

A probate would cost more than the $2392 in suspense. It is difficult to predict what next hot area will be or the development of new technologies that could make Beaver County more valuable.
However, once the property is in your hands a simple mineral trust or Transfer on Death Deed would mean that your son would not need to go through probate to pass on the minerals.

Thank you, Mr. Winblad. Your response is leading me toward dropping my pursuit of the accounts. I have a lot on my to-do list and this will go to the bottom for now. My kind contact at Unit Petro emailed me this today:

" I am not sure why the state does not accept the affidavit. We have accepted the affidavit, which is why there are not any title requirements associated with your interest. We currently have you in a pay status. However, the well is shut-in, so it is not currently producing. Since the affidavits are filed, that means that record title is up to date in the county records, so if future wells are drilled, you will be the record title owner. Also, if we produce this well again, we show you as the current owner. So, the only funds thing that does not seem to be available to you, is the money that the State is holding. I might make sure that Unclaimed property knows that Unit has you in a pay status, and I would also check to see how much a probate would cost. "

So I will advise Unclaimed of the above and move on. Thank you all for your advise. If anyone out there knows of an affordable way to move forward, I’m all ears!

DRP: Here is what I would do. If not already done, file Affidavit with death certificate & copy of Will. Then have your brother execute a mineral deed to the heirs under the L/W&T of your father and file it. Then send a copy of the recorded deed to the unclaimed property division. Worth a try. Todd M. Baker

If the funds are less than $10k with the OK Unclaimed Property Division, you should be able to use an affidavit and their process. Some attorneys have been known to handle a probate for a share of the funds and/or acreage.

TODD_M_Baker, Would we file Affidavit, death cert and Will with Beaver County Records?
I’m guessing we would need a lawyer to execute the mineral deed. Would a lawyer also be needed to file the above documents?

DRP- Yes, the Affidavit with the attached copy of the Death Certificate & Will would be filed against the property in Beaver County. The Executor of the Will would execute the Mineral Deed, as Grantor, and the heirs under the Will would be the Grantee(s). You don’t need a lawyer to do any of this.

Todd M. Baker

I’m not sure the amount justifies the time and legwork for me and my brother. TODD_M_Baker, thank you for your offer to help. I may reach out at some point in the future.