How long can operator hold royalty funds in suspense?

We initiated a title dispute with an operator in Martin County, Texas because we believed we were being paid incorrectly. The operator immediately put our royalty in suspense and told us they would investigate and the matter would be resolved within 90 days. It has now been more than 90 days, and they are telling us the dispute has still not been resolved, and they cannot tell us how much longer it will take. Can they do this after initially telling us research would be completed within 90 days?

Mary, they can suspend royalty payments for years. I don't want to scare you by saying this. I only wish to tell you not to expect any progress if you don't keep inquiring. Inquiring might also best be done under a lawyers letterhead if we are talking more than a few thousand dollars.

You also need to demand to know if there is anything they need from you and what it is in writing. If they answer nothing, then inquire what the problem is. Don't let them keep you in the dark while they do nothing.

I and my brother have recently settled a suit where our money was in suspense for 9 years. Lawsuit settled. The company then found a scriveners error in regards to one legal description and well and wanted to not pay on 5 wells because, well.... they didn't want to. Couldn't give a reason why they weren't just holding the money for the single drill spacing/well subject to the scriveners error.

You should also demand that royalties continue to be paid with respect to that portion of the mineral interest which is not in dispute. The operator is not entitled to place 100% of your interest in suspense unless there is a valid dispute as to whether you own any minerals at all. Send a letter by certified mail so that you have proof that it was sent and received.

Hi, Mary!

They may be waiting for you to provide evidence of title to your royalties. Have you studied your title or had a Landman do it?

If you need an Attorney, we all know of a few we could suggest to you.

Thanks everyone. We found out my daughter was not listed in her great-grandmother’s Affidavit of Heirship and, thus, was not benefiting as her heir. She was receiving royalties she inherited from her father, however, and such royalty checks have been suspended while the operator investigates the aforementioned Affidavit of Heirship of her great-grandmother. Further, the operator is paying her on deep rights, but not on shallow which are also producing. Charles, we very well may need an attorney before this is all said and done. I would at least like to consult with one. We are from Midland, but are now living in Colorado.

Mary -

Accept my invitation to become A Friend on The Forum and I'll send you contact information for a couple of very experienced Oil and Gas Attorneys.

Odd that someone missed someone in an Affidavit of Heirship. Must not have been a Landman (Wink)!

Mr. Tooke,

You can feel free to share that information publicly, without the need for this party to respond to a private invitation.