County tax records correct?

According to the county tax records, I own a tiny percentage of a producing gas unit in Rusk county, Texas, inherited from my father. When I call the operator of the lease, they have no record of my dad being an owner. They told me that the county records are often wrong. I have a copy of my grandfather’s will from 1990 that names that gas unit. None of the mineral interests were named in my father’s will, although I have inherited several of them. How do I find out what happened to that gas unit? I don’t think my dad would have sold these one at a time. There are no legal documents on file where he sold any oil/gas interests.

thank you, Michelle

You mentioned contacting the operator of the lease and that the operator has no record of your dad being an owner. Did you ask if they have any record of your grandfather ever being an owner in that unit? It’s possible that interest never got transferred into your father’s name and has been accruing or was transferred to the State based on unknown ownership. Was your grandfather’s will probated and was your father his only living heir?

Might be logical to also check the Texas Comptroller’s unclaimed property site to see if they are holding any royalties in your grandfather and father’s names

If that interest is still in your grandfather’s name, affidavits of heirship may be required to document the transfer of title from your grandfather to your father and then from your father to you. However, the fact the County tax records are showing you own an interest in the unit seems to indicate there is some type of recorded document showing transfer of title that the County picked up. If you haven’t already, try asking the Rusk County Appraisal District if they can tell you where they picked up that ownership.

If those don’t help, searching the Grantor index for your your grandfather’s name in the Rusk County deed records would show if that interest had been transferred to someone else. Here’s a link where you should be able to set up a free account to search the records online and pay a $1.00/page if you need to print copies.

Are you distinguishing surface from minerals? Are the records in your personal name or your father? Most often, the royalty owner and royalty decimals are provided by the operator to the county and appraisal company. The county does not search the deed records and make title changes. To what address did the county send the Notice of Appraised Value for the royalty interest? Pull together the information and send it, along with a letter detailing your questions, by certified mail to the operator. Such as any deeds, recorded probate, and tax records.

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