Affidavit of Heirship Potential Problem

I am posting this for general information. Last year for the heirs of an intestate female decedent who was a non-Texas resident and owned surface and minerals in one Texas County, it was decided to do an affidavit of heirship after one producer (company taking production) told an heir that an affidavit of heirship would be sufficient to obtain new division orders.

After Affidavit of Heirship was prepared and filed in appropriate county, two of the producers issued new division orders. The third producer said because the annual revenue was too high (in excess of $3,000), it would not accept the Affidavit of Heirship based on company policy and heirs would need to file application for Judicial Determination of Heirship and open administration on the decedent’s estate in Texas.

I was able to move the issue away from the division order analyst to the manager of the department and ultimately able to convince him that an exception to the company’s policy should be made in this case because the family situation was very simple and the affiants had known the decedent an extremely long time.

Moral of story do a CYA letter, which I did, when the decision is made to use an Affidavit of Heirship rather than a Judicial Determination of Heirship.

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Congratulations, but you should check with a Texas probate attorney to make sure things were done correctly especially since there is also surface involved.

I will look in the mirror and consult with the Texas probate attorney in the reflection. The point of the post was that you can do everything right with an affidavit of heirship in Texas and the oil and gas company does not have to accept it. It was intended to inform other attorneys that they should not assume an affidavit of heirship will be accepted by all oil and gas companies in all circumstances.

Thank you for taking the time to share this experience. I’ve had a few situations where a producer agreed to accept a QCD or AFD but later required a probate after the QCD/AFD was completed. When you mention a “CYA letter” was this letter sent to the producer (reliance on their willingness to accept an AFD) or with your client (managing expectations, giving notice that circumstances may change)?

The CYA letter was to client.

Unless you can convince them otherwise!!