The situation there is a deceased mineral owner who died without heirs. How can it be found out what oil companies should be making royalty payments and what do they do with the money if there is nobody to write a check to?
So no spouse, no children, no brothers or sisters, no nieces, no nephews? If that is the case, then the laws of the state where the minerals are located apply.
No heirs. My question was regarding what these companies do when they have money for someone and can’t pay that money. What do they do with the money?
Depending on the laws of the state the minerals are. Most escheat to the state.
the company will, actually, do nothing. It would be up to a cousin or a second cousin, or even a third to pursue a probate and have a court determine that they are the closest heirs. You would have to go out aways to find that someone has no relatives.
We must also assume no Will, Trust or Transfer on Death Deed, correct?
I did a bad job of explaining things. Please rest assured, no cousins, no trust… but that isn’t the point. My question was what do the oil companies do with the money that they have not found a legitimate payee for? Do they wait 3 years and then use it to pay for the Christmas party? No they don’t (or do they) but what? And sort of the second part was the idea of IF you had that then what would be a sane method of tracking down the operators holding funds. Scenario (not far from the truth) Mr. A dies without heirs, intestate but with LARGE holdings of minerals in highly prolific production areas. Thousands of acres, no kidding.Then 25 years later a love child emerges and asserts heirship. The body is exhumed by a court order. DNA testing of bone and teeth DNA confirms the heir is a true next of kin. The new kid gets everything. But what is everything? There have been 25 years of payments for production that have never had anywhere to go. Hat do they do with that?? Operator after operator have succeeded one another in a daisy chain of working interest ownership. ETC. I am trying to peel an onion just like that. And I am making progress but if you have any insight… Please feel free – And THANK YOU to those that have read considered and answered this post.
In Oklahoma the funds escheat to the state.
You should search unclaimed property in the state where your ancestor died. In addition, check unclaimed property in the state where any company was located. Also, check the state of Delaware.
It is fairly difficult to pry money out of Oklahoma, the treasurer will generally require a fairly good chain tying an heir to the property & a deed or other document showing that the original owner held title to the property.
This post is not legal or tax advice. No attorney / client relationship created by this post.
It is well established law that the oil and gas company (and any company with unclaimed property) must pay it to the state of the payee’s last known address. So go to the unclaimed property website for the state where the relative last lived (and check any other states where they lived). If you can find their name in the unclaimed property listings, you can attempt to obtain it as a relative, which can be easier said than done.
There are at least two types of companies. No company is allowed to use the money for the Christmas party, for example. The relatively responsible companies will transfer the money to the unclaimed property fund of the state, as the other posters have stated. However, a second type of company is one where and when money gets tight, and they don’t really care about what is right and wrong, they will spend the money, and then go out of business. As to those companies, your practical options are very limited.