Is it cost effective to pursue

I am the successor Trustee of a Testamentary Trust that owns Mineral rights. My job is to divide the Mineral rights and assign them to three Beneficiaries.

Location is in Kern County California
Township 32 South, Range 29 East , M.D.B. & M.
Section 28: NW1/4 NE1/4 SW1/4; and SW1/4 NW1/4 SW1/4

From the last Lease agreement:
Parcel 1
APN 446-090-08 PTN
Mineral Percentage 10.00%
Gross ACRES 20.00
Net mineral ACRES 2.00

This agreement was generated in October 2012 and surrendered in December 2014.
The name on the Lease had the Trustee name (she passed away) and the Testamentary Trust name.

A prior lease agreement was filed in 1987 under the name of the owner or possibly the father of the owner but not in a trust name. I assume both leases were unproductive.

Having inquired with a lawyer familiar with Oil Leases and from that area, the cost of finding and transferring the Deed would start at $1,500.00 and possibly escalate to thousands more depending.

My question is, since it was leased twice with no benefit to the Lessor and the Net Mineral ACRES are small is there ever a chance to recouped the expenditure.

And what are my alternatives?

Have you contacted the Kern County Clerk's/Recorders office ( ? I just did a quick search and it seems that some of their records are available online for free. With the information you already have maybe you could find the deed online. I just had a quick look and it seems that forms are also available for transfer of ownership. I live just south of Kern county and there are plenty of minerals up there so even 2 acres could be worth something. I can also see that an estimate of $1,500 might be reasonable but I assume that is including having someone go to the clerk's office and search the records. I've had that done in Oklahoma and the cost was about $500/day plus expenses and then the cost of forms. I think I'd try searching the database online and also calling the clerk's office before paying someone to do the work. I'd also check here on the Forum to see if anyone knows what minerals in the area are worth. If there is oil or other minerals even 2 acres might be worth something. I'd also check the Kern County Group on this forum here plus if you need to talk with or hire a landman take a look at the members tab above and see if you can find one in the Kern/Bakersfield area.

Are you just needing to do a simple mineral deed from the Trust into 3 beneficiaries? You could try and find a similar deed in this County and create your own. It would take about 15 minutes to fill out all the necessary information on a mineral deed. Not sure why they want some much money to do that.

Thank you all for your great suggestions. I tried to talk to someone in the Recorder's office twice and just got a recording to leave my number but never got a call back. The Assessor's office just transferred me to the Recorder's office. We did order some documents and will see what they contain. Kind of stabbing in the dark.

From the Recorder's website:

This office cannot advise you how to prepare legal documents, nor advise you about which documents you need to record; such information should be obtained from your legal advisor. Most stationery stores, however, carry legal forms which may fit your situation and may be recorded if properly completed.

Not encouraging.

I think a simple Mineral deed from the Trust to the beneficiaries is all I need but first I need to find the actual deed to see if it is in the Trust or how it is held.

It's a work in progress.

John K .. Do you have the deed from the decendant? If you do, you'll be able to see who she obtained title from and all of the terms and conditions within it. If not, pull up Kern Co. clerk and search for the recorders or call them to see if they'll look it up for you and send you a copy.

I'm not an attorney, but as far as, dividing up the minerals between the three, all you need to do is to 'draw up' a mineral deed in each one's name, with the legal, etc., and record it. You can normally pull on-line various mineral deeds in your specific county to see how its worded, formatted, etc. While you're at it, pull up the laws (in your state) and read them over regarding, what is require to convey minerals of a deceased person and what your obligation as a Sucessor Trustee is. Each state is different, so it's good to read the statutes so there won't be any trouble later. For example, the state where my minerals are at, you have to have the estate probated in order to recieve royalty payments from most major Oil Companies, if there's no Trust.

Looking over some of my decendant's documents, I found that they were charged substantial amounts of money for a simple Deeds, Corrections, Quit Claim Deeds (QCD), etc., that were mostly copied from the precious deed.

However, if you don't feel you'd be able to do that, then you probably have no other choice than to retain an attorney.

Hope this helps to give you a little clearer prospective ..

All County Recorders aren't that helpful insomuch that they can't give legal advise, but don't let that discourage you. Pull up on-line (in the same county) a few (recently recorded) 'Mineral Deed's', to get an idea.

Thank you Kaye, very helpful.

All I have at this time are two expired lease agreements. One from 1986 in the name of the person that passed in 1993 and one Lease (Short and long form) from 2012 that is named: Testamentary Trust created under the will of the first person that passed in 1993 with the name of the trustee that passed in 2017. I am the successor trustee.

We now have also received a short form with a surrender letter of the 2012 Lease from the Kern County Recorder Office.

I have never seen the actual Deed but have all the probate records of the person that passed in 1993, there was no Deed available then either.

John K ... I never recieved a deed either after probate, which I should have, but then a lot of things weren't done correctly as I discovered later. As long as you have the probate records and trust showing that you're the successor trustee I would think you're in pretty good shape.

You might want to do a little research and pull up the adjacent sections around yours to maybe get an idea of what's going on. That seems to be the only way to find out what these oil companies are doing, since they're so tight lipped.

Thanks Kaye, I may have to drive up to Bakersfield with all my records. It's only 2 1/2 Hrs away. I can do that if all else fails.

I was able to look at location of the claim by using this Website :

the Section 28 my site had no wells showing only the next one over showed 3 dry wells. I wonder if the past two leases never where drilled. Didn't look very encouraging.