Culberson County Heirship questions?

In 1943 when our Grandfather passed away, he left his 5 children 685 acres in Culberson County! One of the children had a family come forward and claimed her share only being cousins. When my Aunt passed away she died without a Will. I have documentation stating she was my Grandparents child, she never married or had any children. This acreage is now divided up between 5 families (25 people) are now involved.

My questions is shouldn’t her share have remained with the family that raised her? This land has been leased by Panther Energy and they are completing their title work in order to file for the drilling permit. They are using R.D. DAVIS & Associates, LLC out of Houston, TX and have hired KTK Land Services to do the leg work.

We need a Lawyer who can give us some advice. Can we put a Lein on their share of the property until the investigation is complete to keep them from getting any more money? They were just paid $100,000 for their 3 year lease. This is just wrong. They did not even know this woman. They did not participate in any way to her up bringing.

Suggestions…please? Thanks for your help! Looks like we need help quick?



I'm no attorney, so here is my free advice. For starters, I'm not exactly sure what you're referring to when you say, "One of the children had a family come forward and claimed her share only being cousins." I'm unsure how that figures into all this, if it even does. I'm ignoring it for now.

Anyways, on to your Aunt. So, she died with no will, no children and having never been married? It should be fairly simple. I assume her father (your grandfather), predeceased her as he died in 1943. What about your Aunt's mother (your grandmother)? I am assuming that she also predeceased your Aunt. If both of those are true, your Aunt's siblings should receive your Aunt's portion of the land (and minerals). If any of her siblings had predeceased your Aunt, then the sibling's heirs would receive their parent's part.

Hope this helps. If you have any additional questions or would like to call me to further explain, send me a friend request and I'll message you my phone number.

Good luck!


Who are the cousins? If they are children of a brother or sister of your Aunt, they may have inherited part of your Aunt's share if she died without a will.

Your Aunt's share would go to her siblings, and for any sibling who predeceased her, that sibling's share would go to his/her children. This determination is made in something called the "laws of descent and distribution," which specifies EXACTLY who inherits a person's Estate when he or she dies without leaving a Will. "The family that raised her" has NO claim to her Estate unless one of them is entitled to inherit through the laws of descent and distribution, which I am guessing is not the case here.

Regarding the "lien on their share of the property," you could go to Court and file a Lis Pendens in the Property Records to put the public on notice that the specified property is in dispute, essentially putting a lien on that property. However, I believe that a WISER course of action would be to consult a probate attorney and determine exactly WHO the rightful owners of your Aunt's property are according to the LAWS OF DESCENT AND DISTRIBUTION. I seriously doubt that any court case contesting the laws of descent and distribution would get anywhere, so again I don't see litigation as a viable solution for this scenario.

The Aunt who was actually my Grandmother’s niece and my cousin did not have any siblings or children of her own! Just a lot of cousins! So, then why didn’t we get part of her share which our own Grandfather purchased?

I was referring to what I believe is your Aunt, one of the three daughters of your Grandfather and Grandmother, not the so-called Aunt who is actually your cousin.

Ok, let’s clear things up! My Grandmother had a sister who had a child named Esther. Esther had no children, sometime in her early life she came to live with my grandparents as her mother could not care for her. My grandmother died in 1939 without a Will. My Grandfather died in 1945 with a Will. My Grandfather purchased the land in Culberson in 1942. He left Esther the furniture in his Will. Later in her life my grandparents other 4 children decided to give her a share of the land that they had inherited and did so in a Declaration filed with the County Clerk. My question is who are the rightful heirs to her share of the land, as 15 people have come forward. Would my Grandmother’s side of the family be entitled to anything, since she was Grandmother’s niece?

I'm not sure, but it does sound like you are returning here expecting and wanting very specific answers. In general, what you were told is correct. When someone dies without a will in Texas and other states, their property will pass according to the statutory provisions of descent and distribution. However, no one can tell you for certain if Esther/heirs owns any interest unless they looked at the instruments in the chain of title that purport to put that particular interest into her. The instrument that you are calling a Declaration may have done that. It just depends on how it was worded. The fact that it was filed doesn't make it a valid instrument. You earlier indicated, or may have implied that Gramp's will or his intent may have been circumvented by the real aunt, to include Esther. That might have to be looked at as well. I don't know. In other postings you acknowledge that you own surface only, possibly that is what you wrote when you attempted to quote a part of how the Declaration was worded. If that is the case, everything would be moot regarding the minerals. As much as anyone would like to answer your questions for you, or give you free advice, they can't with any kind of certainty. The reasons are obvious.

I understand and appreciate your honesty! Thanks again!