I need honest advice and suggestions. PLEASE

#1

I have a an unique but yet complicated scenario.

A friend of mine was an adopted heir to mineral rights. The adopted heir has a sister who is the natural born daughter of the parents of the adopted heir. The father passes away and leaves everything to the wife. The daughter skips state, takes control of the mother who at the time was in her 80's and obtains a power of attorney. While the mother is living with the sister, the royalty checks are coming directly to her due to unknown terms through the elderly mother and power of attorney.

The mother dies, and according to the will, the adoptive heir has a big percentage of the mineral rights. For over 15 years the sister has been collecting royalty checks while the adopted heir was completed cut out going against the written will completely. When I asked my friend why he didn't pursue the issue he explains he didn't have money for legal representation.

Here recently my friend informed me that he found a landsman who has agreed to get to the bottom of the issue. By that I mean going up against the sister, sorting out the mineral rights and getting the adoptive heir what he deserves. I believe the landsman works independently therefore. My friend explain that everything can be solve for the adopted heir with a 70/30 ownership deal.

Is this a typical arrangement? Please if anyone has heard of this type of scenario or solution please give me suggestions. I'm willing to listen to any suggestions on anything mentioned.

Thank You.

#2

If the mother had a will that was probated leaving her estate to both the natural heir and adopted heir then this is a pretty simple scenario. The adopted heir needs to send a filed copy of the probated will to each respective operator.

#3

I think you need a lawyer, not a landman but if this landman CAN accomplish this, I believe a 30% cut would be reasonable as a lawyer would want more working on contingency. I'm just not sure a landman can do it and if I were the sister, I would tell the landman to go away, if he persisted I would file charges for harassment because a landman has no status in a situation like this.

I believe the landman is going to try to brazen it out, probably with phone calls because he would not want to put scare tactics on paper, but if it does not work, there is nothing he can do. The landman will not initiate a lawsuit, unless he is a lawyer also and would probably want a bigger cut in that case.

Has the mothers estate been probated?

A power of attorney, to my knowledge ceases in effect when the person granting it dies.

Oil companies are usually particular who they pay. Sometimes mistakes are made. Unless notified, the oil company may not know that the mother has passed away and is just sending checks to the address and addressee they became accustomed to. The sister may be flying under the radar between oil company and bank.

Do you know which company is paying the royalty? Have you contacted them? The oil company might quit paying royalty if you send them a copy of the mother's death certificate and there is no paperwork saying the sister is the sole heir to the mineral rights, bringing things to a head in a probate proceeding. I would bend my efforts in that direction.

The company making the payments would want to know.

#4

First off I am no lawyer. The way this reads : is if the one who is getting the money is going against the will of the mother,she could be in deep S. AND would owe the money to the adopted person. With my understanding of " a power of attorney" most of these are only good for as long as the one being cared for is alive ,once that person dies then the will comes into play, Now , if the will was changed ,before the mother died stating that the the minerals went to the natural born sibling, this could change thing . If I was this person I would really get a lawyer looking at this , What about all the money that has been paid out to this one person ? Is this going to be paid back too ?

#5

Your friend should get an attorney, not a landman, for this situation, IMO. The adopted son has "a huge percentage of the mineral rights", and for 15 years has not received them? OOPS. My question is this: why didn't the oil company(s) find the adopted son when they did their title search...if the will was probated? They must have done *something* or the natural daughter would not be receiving royalty checks...unless she did not report the death of the mother and is receiving the checks under a false premise, as if she were the mother. Get an attorney....

#6

If the will was not probated (in texas you have 4 years to do this)then the daughter splits it with the adoptive sister.

I am in a similar position, im the adopted child, my adopted mother had a son.

when she passed it was split between the 2 of us as he never probated the Will.

Im not an expert on landman but it seems odd that a landman would do this, as they work

for the company wanting to lease the land. id definitely hire an attorney for peace of mind.

Just my opinion though.

#7

We've had great good luck with a highly competent land man, but our situation wasn't contentious like this one seems to be. The main question is, Did the natural daughter even report the mother's death to the companies? Did she even probate the will? A landman could probably get answers to these questions, but if what is learned is that the natural daughter is trying to hold onto the minerals herself, against the terms of the will, an attorney will likely be needed.

#8

I believe back pay is on the table. I will be talking to my friend again to verify this. Thank you for your reply, I'm reading and taking in consideration everything everyone says here.



C.patton said:

First off I am no lawyer. The way this reads : is if the one who is getting the money is going against the will of the mother,she could be in deep S. AND would owe the money to the adopted person. With my understanding of " a power of attorney" most of these are only good for as long as the one being cared for is alive ,once that person dies then the will comes into play, Now , if the will was changed ,before the mother died stating that the the minerals went to the natural born sibling, this could change thing . If I was this person I would really get a lawyer looking at this , What about all the money that has been paid out to this one person ? Is this going to be paid back too ?

#9


Thanks. I figured as much but I wasn't sure. The landman is making some pretty important phone calls evidently so I will take your advice. And yes the company has stopped paying the sister completely. The company knows the mother is dead.
r w kennedy said:

I think you need a lawyer, not a landman but if this landman CAN accomplish this, I believe a 30% cut would be reasonable as a lawyer would want more working on contingency. I'm just not sure a landman can do it and if I were the sister, I would tell the landman to go away, if he persisted I would file charges for harassment because a landman has no status in a situation like this.

I believe the landman is going to try to brazen it out, probably with phone calls because he would not want to put scare tactics on paper, but if it does not work, there is nothing he can do. The landman will not initiate a lawsuit, unless he is a lawyer also and would probably want a bigger cut in that case.

Has the mothers estate been probated?

A power of attorney, to my knowledge ceases in effect when the person granting it dies.

Oil companies are usually particular who they pay. Sometimes mistakes are made. Unless notified, the oil company may not know that the mother has passed away and is just sending checks to the address and addressee they became accustomed to. The sister may be flying under the radar between oil company and bank.

Do you know which company is paying the royalty? Have you contacted them? The oil company might quit paying royalty if you send them a copy of the mother's death certificate and there is no paperwork saying the sister is the sole heir to the mineral rights, bringing things to a head in a probate proceeding. I would bend my efforts in that direction.

The company making the payments would want to know.

#10



Jordan Murray said:

If the mother had a will that was probated leaving her estate to both the natural heir and adopted heir then this is a pretty simple scenario. The adopted heir needs to send a filed copy of the probated will to each respective operator.

The sister made sure this wasn't possible. Therefore the reason why she has received the checks for so many years.

#11

James

The sister can't keep the other heir from going to the courthouse and obtaining a copy of the will if it was in fact probated. Anyone can request a copy.

#12

A landman should be able to take existing documents, including the will, and communicate those to the operator(s), ensuring from the present onward that payments go to the legal owner(s) of the rights. That doesn't take care of the historical malfeasance, but perhaps if there is royalty money coming in from this point, your friend could hire legal counsel for the back pay. Another alternative would be to contact a mineral management service (we use US Trust's asset management arm) and tell them that you are looking for a mineral manager once the ownership is changed or made right. They will often do a lot initial leg work as a way to get your business and as long as they see record of the ownership they can help assist with getting proper ownership recorded and the payments squared away. They may do it without payment required as they take their fees as a percentage of money received. It may be worth a conversation with someone. Hope it's resolved soon.

#13

You need a lawyer. And you can find some that only charge a 25% contingency fee. In Texas you need to take action so that the adverse possession statutes don't come into play.

#14

Can you tell us basically what the adverse possession statutes are for Texas?

closed #15