Finding Inherited Mineral-Royalty Interests

My dad passed away 8 years ago. My aunt was the executor and trustee for him. Last summer she gave me a list of companies who had paid royalties to my dad and said that I could sort out transferring them to me and my brother. Most of the properties are in Texas in Gregg, Rusk, and Harrison counties. Somewhere I saw a list of properties that had an owner number. Is there a state wide owner number? Or a county assigned owner number? Or is that assigned by the drilling company?

In a legal settlement from 1990, I saw reference to property in Smith County in Texas and Clinton Parish in Louisiana, but I have not been able to find anything owned by my dad in either of these places. But I was just searching the appraisal district websites. I have not found any documents transferring anything to anyone else.

Basically, how do I make sure that I have found everything my dad owned?

thank you,


No easy answer for you unless you want to spend some $$ hiring someone to research each county. At a minimum ensure that your father's probate is on file in each county and if your name and address is not in the probate document, add an addendum or affidavit to it so you can be easily found. As far as existing production goes, check the unclaimed property website, any existing funds attributable to your father should eventually end up there.

Also there is no state wide number, that is likely a specific company's owner number

Thank you

I have gone to the appraisal districts and found where my dad was paying property taxes. I have looked at the county records for documents with my dad's name in them, which is how I found the legal settlement. There were mostly leases and memorandum of lease, no deeds transferring anything to someone else. If I paid someone to do the research in each county, what would they look at?

Eight years? As the executor, it is her duty to see that his assets are properly transferred to his beneficiaries upon his death. Why has she waited so long? I think it would be in your best interest to ask her for an accounting of what happened to eight years of monies. It sounds like your aunt could know more than it sounds.

Do you have a copy of his Will? This is where you need to start.

If you have the time, research this yourself as it could be costly to hire an outsider. For a start, try website. Also, you will need proof of his death and proof that you and brother are his heirs/beneficiaries in order to have anything transferred.

Good luck



You will probably never learn about everything your entrepenuraial Dad was involved in and it will drive you crazy wondering about it. However, State oil and gas laws are on your side and are helpful if you allow the business to find you. Rather than chasing circumstantial rabbits to ground, (tax records) make a plan such as:

  1. Make a deal with your brother to share in the cost and eventually in the mineral ownership (LLC)
  2. Get a deed of distribution from your aunt and take it to an oil and gas lawyer in Texas (Midland is a good place)
  3. Make certain the deed is global and all inclusive of Dad's rights wherever they may exist.
  4. Gather up all snippets of info from your aunt and inventory what you know then have the distribution deed(s) recorded in every county where you know property to be in existence. Your permanent address must be on the deed.
  5. Send a copy of the DoD to each payor from whom you receive a check and include the owner number and your address. The payors will reply to your request.
  6. Wait to be contacted by third parties wanting to lease or buy and get help as needed.

the budget for the above will less than $3000 if you do most of the correspondence and find a good lawyer.

Have fun, It will eventually be worth it.

Gary L Hutchinson

Minerals Managment

I'm not sure if I am reading you right that the Will was not probated. But, if that's the fact, you should know there is a statute of limitation (SOL) under the Texas probate law. Texas law stipulates that a will must be probated within 4 years from the time of death. If real property was also left to you and your brother, then you can have that transferred into your names through a Muniment of Title even though SOL has expired. This is a very simple process.

Good luck,