Help! I inherited part of a lease

My mother died and I was left with part of her share of a lease in Calhoun County, WV… I have to sign a certificate of ownership and send back. I called and spoke to the company and asked them to send a copy of the lease… They said they would, but never did and have not replied to any of my phone calls… The lease is dated July 23, 1906… She says it has never been re-negotiated and there are 42 people on the lease now… I got a copy of the 1906 lease from the County Clerks office and the lease is for $50.00 a quarter, or 200.00 per year. It was good for 10 years. The lease was for 104 acres but I don't even know if the family still owns the land. Can anyone recommend where to even start searching this out? I've called a lawyer's office twice about this but have not gotten a call back. Since my share is .52 every three months, I’m wondering if I should just forget about it…thanx…

Cynthia, thanx for writing back… I will definitely call the number of the Landmen that you gave me…Since I posted this question, I’ve been looking up info on mineral rts…and I know that my local attorneys will probably know nothing about mineral rt leases… As for relatives, the only relative I know that has an interest in this called the company after his father died and told the company that he wasn’t interested in having a part of the lease anymore… that it wasn’t worth his hassle for 12.48 a year… As for the other things, HBP, production, where the acreage is located, etc. I don’t know any of that…The only lease I have is the lease from 1906 which lists my grandmother and her siblings… They are all dead and I’m pretty sure that the next generation are all dead too… The Dominion Transmission Co said they would send a copy of the lease but never did… So I’m going to call the number you gave me and can’t thank you enough for your reply…Karen

Cynthia, I called the number you gave me and someone was very helpful… But he told me that the lease from 1906 cannot be re-negotiated… The representative from Dominion told me it could be… Was the girl at Dominion wrong?

Cynthia McGill, CPL/ESA said:

First of all, be careful what you sign. Is the Certificate of Ownership like an Affidavit of Heirship (details in your family history)?

Do you know if the lease is HBP (held by production)? I would assume that it is or the lease is shut-in. Is there any production on the lease? The figures you are quoting, is that for minimum royalty? delay rentals? shut-in royalty payments or production? Do you know where the acreage is located? Without knowing more, it is hard to know where to tell you to start.

If there are other family members (aunts, uncles, cousins) on the lease, that is usually a good place to start to get more information. They are probably familiar with what is going on with the lease…especially the older relatives.

If you contact the Virginia Association of Petroleum Landmen, they may be able to answer some of your questions or refer you to an attorney that will return your phone calls. Their number is (540) 864-6458