Best way to change ownership


I am trying to clear up a 23 year old estate in District #1, Medina county Texas. The property is around 30 acres, 10 producing wells with horses and is located outside of Natalia.

We are having several problems but the biggest one is with the oil company. They are holding funds, not completing the division order, and had changed the name of the owner of the mineral rights without verifying the proper owners.

Basically there are 4 heirs to the estate of my dads that were left off everything: the land, water rights, and mineral rights. Before the death my stepmother in 2010, she tried to sell the land and minerals. How she got away with the mess she made is still beyond me. She was able to change names and get the "Estate of my dad" removed.

* I need to know for my own reasons, is this happening a lot?

* What is needed to change the records at the TX RRC and best person to contact there?

* How does one get a warranty deed when my dad and stepmother is dead in order to reverse the name on the Water Board?

* Would like to know does any attorney on commission to go after an oil company if need be?

I do have a lot more questions, however I want to get started with these to see if I get any replies. Thanks.... BooBoo

Is the estate still open and who was the executor?

There is not nearly enough information in your posting to answer all your questions.

You say "there are 4 heirs to the estate of my dads that were left off everything." Exactly WHY do you say that they were left off?

You say that your stepmother "tried to sell the land and minerals." Does that mean that she was not successful in selling them?

You say that your stepmother "was able to change names and get the 'Estate of my dad' removed." Exactly what were the names changed on, and from what names and to what names? Also, exactly what did your stepmother get the Estate of your Dad removed from?

You say that you want to change "the name on the Water Board." What exactly is the Water Board and how does that relate to oil and gas?

In the mean time, here are a few answers. You individually do not get to change anything at the RRC. If your Dad and stepmother are both dead and you have a valid claim to something that was mistakenly bequeathed in one of their Wills or sold by them, you can contest the Will if the Probate case is still open or file a "suit to quiet title" in district court if the Probate case is closed or the improper conveyance was through a Deed, not a Will.

Hi Pete

1. & 3. The name on the mineral (owner) is only in my stepmother's name and she died 3 years ago. The name on the land was also only in her name and I was able to get that corrected. Both where in the Estate of my dad's name and her name. The lease is her name at the appraisal office and the RRC has it still in my dad's name as if he were still alive. She signed a statement saying she was the only heir to the estate with the oil company ( they are still buying our oil from the operator who is completely innocent of any wrong doings, he was also lied too). No one bothered looking at my dad's court case file that needless to say she never probated. We is 4 heirs on my father's kids. We need to tie up these loose ends to close and probate his case file.

* Note I am not listing names on the board. If an attorney is interested in taking on the case then I gladly talk to them. I am getting to the point that the oil company needs to explain why this all happened. I am so tired of the oil company who also had a hand in messing up the records 23 years ago. I have copies of everything.

2. Yes, she along with my stepbrother tried to sell everything right before she died and the only thing that stopped the sell was a question in the title warranty's comments about the heirs. One sentence stopped the sell.

4. The water board is the "Water Control and Improvement District 1... who supplies us with top water to irrigate.

I think I have answered most of your questions and thanks on the answers.


Mr. Caldwell

Yes my dad's estate is still open, not for sure about step mother's. My dad's will could not be found. His safety deposit box of 30 years had to be drilled open and there was nothing there. My brother is the executor now since my stepmother died 3 years ago. We always thought the estate was closed before she took over from my uncle who passed away 20 years ago. We found in my dad's case file all the documents needed to close the estate with exception of the judge signature and stamp.

If the estate is still open, you can do an executor deed.

Wade, she said that “needless to say [the stepmother] never probated” her father’s will, and she also said “My dad’s will could not be found.” Then she says that “My brother is the executor now.” Without a Will, there can be no Executor, as far as I know. So perhaps she means that her brother is the ADMINISTRATOR?

Thanks Wade I will see about the executor deed.

Pete you are right I meant ADMINISTRATOR of my dad's estate. My Bad.


OK, I think I understand a little better what's going on. First of all, it would be an Administrator's Deed since there is no Executor. Secondly, it sounds like stepmother tried to sell the minerals off but because of the laws of descent and distribution could not do so. Here's my next question for you: did your father own the minerals BY HIMSELF before he married the woman who became your stepmother? If not, if he acquired the minerals AFTER marrying your stepmother, do you have access to a copy of the Deed wherein they bought the land/minerals? Your answers to these two questions would be helpful to understand the situation better. My guess is that your stepmother had a Life Estate interest to the minerals and therefore was not allowed to sell the minerals in fee simple, which she attempted to do before the title policy prevented it.


Yes to she tried to sell the mineral right and the land. My father had the mineral rights only by himself. He was the owner /operator with 93.75% WI. He set up The ----- Oil Company. He owned the oil rights way before my stepmother came into the picture. The land and mineral rights were severed before my parents bought the farm and the mineral rights. When my parents divorced, the land went to my father and the mineral rights where divided 51% to my dad and my mom got 49%. In the 70's my mom sold only her 49% back to my dad. And yes to my stepmother had a life estate. So who does the mineral right belong to? And the title policy did stop the sell. I thanked the Stewart Title Guaranty Company over and over. And I will be doing business with them in the future.

OK, this is what I thought was the situation. I want to emphasize that nothing I state on this Forum constitutes legal advice or the practive of law, it is simply my personal opinion based upon my experience. So your Dad owned 100% of the minerals/mineral rights BEFORE marrying your stepmother, that means that the minerals were HIS "Separate Property," not THEIR "Community Property." Then your Dad died without a Will, or at least without one that went to Probate Court.

So pursuant to the laws of descent and distribution in Texas, that means your stepmother would be entitled to a "Life Estate" in one-third (1/3) of the minerals/mineral rights, meaning that she would have that 1/3 for her lifetime and could NOT sell them, and the remaining two-thirds (2/3) of the minerals/mineral rights would transfer in fee simple to all of your Dad's children, divided equally. "Fee simple" just means that the kids COULD sell their portions at any time, unlike your stepmother's Life Estate portion. So if your Dad had four kids, each kid would be entitled to 2/3 divided by 4, which is 2/12, or 1/6. Then when the stepmother died, HER 1/3 would AUTOMATICALLY get divided up among all of your Dad's children also, REGARDLESS OF WHAT HER WILL MIGHT SAY, so again, if your Dad had four kids, each kid would then own 1/6 + (1/4 * 1/3), or 1/6 + 1/12, or 3/12, or 1/4. Therefore, from the perspective of these minerals/mineral rights ONLY, the wording of your stepmother's Will or the status of her Estate is IRRELEVANT! Once she died, all of your Dad's kids then owned 100% of the minerals/mineral rights, divided equally. If they had sold their portions after Dad died but before stepmother died, obviously that would be different. Also, if one child predeceased your Dad the ownership would be different too. But basically, the law is set up so that when a person dies intestate, his or her separate property eventually ends up with his or her blood relatives (adopted children are treated as biological children).

NOW, here's the thing. You say that your Dad has been deceased for twenty-three years, and your stepmother has been deceased for three years, right? I need to know the answer to two questions, and they are extremely important questions because your answers to them could dramatically change what I wrote above and alter who was/is entitled to the benefits arising from these minerals/mineral rights over the last twenty-three years, benefits such as bonus, royalties, shut-in payments, delay rentals, etc. Here are the questions: "Exactly WHEN was the most current Oil and Gas Lease signed, and exactly WHO signed it?" and "Since the time when the most current Oil and Gas Lease was signed, did any one or more of your Dad's kids sign a Lease as to these exact minerals or a Ratification of such a Lease?" Please respond when you know the answers.