Anyone with good results from mineral rights attorney in Bakersfield, Calif area?

My sister and I recently inherited mineral rights, some in ND Baaken Field not leased and some leased and producing near Bakersfield, CA, in Kern County. We don't live in either of those states.

We have been told California uses a probate referee to set value to forward to the California probate process.

We hired a mineral land title research firm who had done work for Occidential Oil in finding us recently for a desired new lease area near Wasco. They researched Kern County for all records of our farming Grandparents and Great Grandparents back to 1900 and issued a report of areas we have shares, the orginal recorded deed numbers, the recorded leases, and the share amounts (some in pools). We thought this would suffice to submit to a probate referee.

The attorney we hired to look at this seems working outside their area of expertise and not comfortable with legal descriptions of metes and bounds and shares (or pool shares) or the results of land companies that do research for oil companies to find owners and shares. I find it hard to believe that initial mineral title records with recording number and county file number, recorded lease with recorded file number, share percentages defined by the research land company we hired that does this for oil companies wanting to lease, and income receipts is not adequate to establish appriasial value for submittal to the California probate referee to set value.

Has anyone encounted this scenario and obtained good results with a mineral rights oriented legal firm in Bakersfield area? We are disappointed in our attorney so far.

*We also ran into this in ND, McLean County mineral rights, ending up discharging one attorney, hired another very competent firm and interesting it went smoothly and was completed in a month. It is begining to seem the same sequence is happening again in California with our attorney not comfortable or working outside an area of expertise to identify description and value.


I am sorry to hear about your experience with a Bakersfield lawyer. I cannot comment on what your lawyer has done or is doing but I hopefully can help you understand the process.

I assume that the interests that you inheritied are were not included in a probate or other trust from the decedent and therefore the interest is currently not in your and your sister's names. As such, the procedure is to prepare an Affidavit re: Real Property of Small Value IF the property is valued at less than $50,000. Otherwise, a more complex probate process is required.

In California, mineral interests are valued on the worth of the proven reserves. Thus, if the minerals are not producing, the value is almost worth zero and typically will be between $5 and $15 per net mineral acre. Here, however, it appears that you have producing minerals. Therefore, a valuation is required. Such valuation is highly technical in nature as you can imagine given that it requires a petroleum engineer to determine the worth of those proven reserves as a whole and then to determine your fractional interest in them based upon the information that you have already obtained. The probate referee is the person who values these interests when it is a probate matter. The probate referees here, however, are likely not well versed in such valuations. If the valuation needs to be done and submitted to the probate referee, then I recommend hiring a person who can do such valuation. If the probate referee will prepare the valuation it sounds as if you may have enough information to submit it to the referee.

I am not a probate lawyer but an oil and gas lawyer. I have prepared these documents and have relationships with petroleum engineers who can prepare the valuations and with the local probate referee who has been very forthcoming regarding the procedures necessary to finalize the transfer from a decendent to his/her heirs.

I hope this helps.

Jean M. Pledger

We have a similar situation with newly acquired land in McClean County. Would you be willing to share the name of the attorney you were happy with there?

I apologize for the late response. Unfortunately, I do not have contacts for North Dakota. Hopefully, you can find someone in this forum who can help.

All the best,
Jean M. Pledger

We are happy to report we were very satisfied with ND results using

Lindell Law Office

David Lindell

Washburn, ND