I am curious if others have encountered having to wait months, sometimes 4-6 to get division orders sent out after transfers. While I realize there maybe office backups etc. when you are waiting for months to get paperwork, how are you to know that the paperwork was actually received after you sent it in? I have had several occasions where I waited months and after following up found the employee was gone or said they never received it. ???
This is a practice in the industry that I, personally, don’t believe should be allowed. That said, I have identified the main reason why owners such as yourself encounter this kind of treatment by oil companies. They simply do not consider owner title maintenance to be a priority. Too many companies view transfers, changes of address, checks returned in the mail and other owner account maintenance activities to be time-wasters. Those activities don’t make money for the oil company. They feel that division order analysts setting up records for booking revenues from new wells, now that’s a priority. So is finding mistakes in the oil company’s decimal calculation in a well that, when fixed, will increase their income–that is a priority. Now that I’ve blown some steam, now for possible solutions–what you can do to stop this mistreatment.
The best way to cut the time a company takes to complete a transfer in their records? Send a copy of the recorded deed or probate documents by certified mail along with a completed and signed IRS form W-9 for the buyer/grantee. Even if you have provided one before, provide it again. I’ve been a division order analyst for decades, and nothing moves a transfer to the top of the list faster than having all necessary documents arrive all at once by certified mail. It establishes three important steps for the owner, all in one motion: (1) proves the date they received it (green card), (2) shows you are serious about making certain this transfer is done timely, and (3) represents the first step necessary before legal action can be taken. Nothing sends fear to the heart of a division order analyst faster than a credible threat of legal action against their employer, and the analyst would be to blame.
Make certain you get the green card back in the mail signed and dated. Make a file, put the green card and a copy of all of the documents you sent into the new file. When you get the transfer order, be sure to put a signed copy of it into that file, too.
How long should you wait before following up? I recommend exactly one week after you get the green card back in the mail. You call the company, or go online to their owner relations website, and ask when you can expect to receive the transfer order for this transaction, and for them to give you the name of the analyst who will be handling the transfer and mailing the transfer order. If they give you the run around, you call the main switchboard number for the company and ask to speak to the division order supervisor. If you end up speaking with the supervisor, you can rest assured that the transfer will be done very quickly after that. Supervisors hate getting bothered by royalty owners.
If you don’t have a transfer order within 21 days after that (lots of valid reasons why it can take up to 21 days), call/contact the company again. Contact them on the same day, same time, every week until you get the transfer order in the mail. Remember: the squeaky wheel gets the grease. I should know. I’ve seen it hundreds of times over the years.
Marsha, thank you for your in depth answer and suggestions. I appreciate your time, help and will give your suggestions a try next “go-around”!