How to find heirs when interest owners die

I have a bit of a problem. Over the years, several interest owners have died and did not leave any heirs. I am holding royalty payments in escrow on their behalf.

What I need to know is either how to find correct heirs or to find out what I should do to properly handle these funds.

Is there a way for me to gain control of these interests?

The property is located in Texas.

David:

I would say you've got your homework ahead of you in regards to records research. If I were in the same boat, I would gather all the facts and paperwork related to these heirs. I would then contact an Estate Attorney who has had past experience in oil and gas minerals as this could become a situation where a knowledge of the inheritence laws would be needed. I have no idea as to the expense involved but it might be in your best interest to take this route.

Dear EM,

There are heirs in most cases. First, you need copies of any probated wills. If none, you will need an Affidavit of Death and Heirship from each decedent. Since you are in Texas, you need to know the law of intestate descent and distirbution changed, I think, September 1993 (I said I think, so look it up yourself to be sure).

With all that information you will need a consanguinity chart. One is here::

http://www.sanantonio.gov/atty/ethics/ConsanguinityChart.htm

This is often one of the items that separate real landmen from wannabe landmen