Dealing with Operators on Title of deceased owners

I am struggling to understand the following. I have two deceased family members, all of whom left a will, and the will was probated. The heirship for their mineral interest properties (which have been in suspense for a while) is clear. I presented a copy of the authenticated/certified probate files to the oil company, and they are telling me I will need to fill out an affidavit of heirship for each of these. The affidavit needs to be filled out by a family member who will not be benefiting from this, and then a collaborating one by a non-family member.

Why would they require this, when the probated wills establish the title very clearly. The affidavit of heirship forms they require has tons of irrelevant information. Feels kind of frustrating. I always thought an A&H was only required when the owner died intestate?

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Don- were the probates done in the state(s) where the minerals are located?

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No, the probates were in a different state where they lived.

Minerals are classified as real property in every state. For clarity of title, deeds or other title conveyance instruments must be filed in the county records where the minerals are located. Texas will accept probate from another state, but the certified probate record or order must be filed in each county where minerals are located. Other states, such as New Mexico and Oklahoma, require ancillary probate in one county of that state. Then the ancillary probate must be recorded in every county where the minerals are located. If the estate is not probated, there are steps that you can take to clear title. Regardless, some appropriate legal record must be filed in each county where you own minerals.

I guess that was my expectation. Record the authenticated/certified probate in the county where the property is located, then pass the same recording to the operator.

Does them requesting an A&H and a corroborating affidavit make sense given this? I assume the operator can require anything they want with little consideration?

What state for minerals? Is title clear all the way down through each owner? Suppose Grandpa dies and there is no probate. He had one heir, Child A. There is no clear title into Child A. Any probate of Child A will only establish the transfer to Grandchild B. There is still a gap of title from Grandpa into Child A. And out-of-state probate is not sufficient for some states. You may need to consult an attorney to make sure that title is clear.

Minerals are in Texas. Owners died in Virginia. Each owner’s will was probated.

Title is like the following. Deceased Person A and Person B. Both mineral properties are in both Person A’s and B’s name.

Person A died, left estate to Person B. Person B died, and left estate to three living heirs. There is no title gap that I can see, it is clear following the probates who would be the legal heirs. I did not know about these mineral properties for several years, so they have been in suspense for a while.

Have you filed certified copies of the probate in each Texas county where the minerals are located? If so, then you can ask what the particular title issue is.

Heirs must notify the operator of the change in title if they inherit. Probate documents need to be filed in the county where the minerals reside and a copy of those documents usually need to be provided to the operator. If a well comes online during a handover in generations, the funds may be held in suspense because the operator has no clear title on who to send them to. That is why you need to contact Encana (who bought Newfield) and get into pay status on the Brooks well. If you get the royalties from the Brooks, those may help pay off the house. Contact them immediately and see what you can do about that situation. You may not have to sell or you may not have to sell all the acres.

Yes, when the minerals pass to a new generation, frequently there is a “step-up” in value as the fair market value resets upon the date of death. Any future generation that sells will pay less in capital gains tax if they have that step-up value.

My comment about the deed was that if you sell, never hand over a deed without getting a check. Some buying companies want the deed first and then delay by months to pay you or don’t pay at all. A legitimate company will pay at the same moment you hand over the deed. Just warning you to be careful about that issue if you decide to sell.

OOps, this was in answer to a question in another post. I will move it over.

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Hello Doug, I had the same issue. I had no choice but to get the Wills and Affadavit recorded in the county where the Rights are at. I found out that each “company” might require different recording of documents. Hope that helps.