My cousins and I recently inherited Oil & Gas rights from our parents, who got them from their parents (our grandfather was a landman the 1920’s - 1940’s). No one in the family kept good records, and we only have pieces of the puzzle. Based on what we can cobble together from old probated wills, final estate tax filings, and old (and some current) documentation, we believe we have holdings in at least 4 Oklahoma counties and 2 in Texas, and possibly more. What we had so far has been probated for 2 of my cousins, mine is underway, and another cousin needs to probate hers. My questions:
- I’d like to get copies of all the original mineral deeds so that we have an audit trail. I have county, section, township and range information. I’ve researched genealogy records, so am accustomed to looking in old courthouse records. Would it be easiest for me to do this myself? I’m thinking, yes…
- If we find new deeds of which we were previously unaware, those need to be probated in that county, correct?
- What is the best way to find a reputable attorney in each county to assist us. I have one now that doesn’t seem to be “up to par” in terms of research and follow through, and may need to make a change.
- What is the best and most accepted method to value the rights for probate?
- Once we find copies of all the deeds, what are the steps we should take to ensure that we are being paid for production that may be occurring on that land? If there has been production, do we have rights to reach back and get paid for prior production?