Is It Too Late?


#1

Two years, 11 months ago I signed a lease on my 50 acres in Section 30 2N2W and 40 acres in Section 29 2N2W. It was with Ceja Corp. The lease states 90 net acres. I was very excited to lease and received a very nice check. We hadn't leased those minerals in over 30 years. This was all new to me. The landman mentioned to me that it appeared that 10 acres had been deeded to someone else years ago. The lease has since been sold to Rimrock. According to Rimrock's website, Ceja is helping fund Rimrock's operation. I am collecting money from Rimrock on both of these sections.

I was paid for 80 net acres, not the 90 net acres the lease states. I have since been unable to locate any record showing where 10 acres had been deeded away. Why did the lease say 90 net acres if they really thought it should only be 80? I believe the landman was able to cheat me out of payment for the 10 acres and may have enriched himself. We are talking about $7000. The question is, do I have any chance in going back and try to collect? Any comments would be appreciated.


#2

Mr. Ivey,

The lease does not say "net" acres. In that area of the lease it indicates the gross acreage of the tracts described in the lease.

Have you actually searched the courthouse for a record of conveyance on these tracts back to the original patent?

You might want to consult with an Oklahoma attorney on the conveyance you made last year. If Jan is your spouse, you may not get the results you intended.


#3

Rick, thank you for your comments. Your are right about the net acres. I live 400 miles away so I probably won’t go to the Courthouse in Paul’s Valley. I have a friend who can do it. Regarding your comment about the quit claim deed adding my spouse Jan to the mineral rights, what is the potential issue?


#4

I'm not an attorney. But when I seen something filed with this language, I often wonder if the person doing so consulted with an attorney to make sure their plans are covered with the property. Too often the answer is no and they create as many or more issues than what they solve.

How is it handled when something happens to one of the parties?

What happens when it comes time to lease if one party is unable to sign?

Do you intend on the property to pass in whole to the surviving spouse? In this instance are there outside documents to provide for this (will,etc)? Are you willing to probate this in the state of Oklahoma to make that occur?


#5

If I understand this thread correctly, a Simple Probate is all that should be required in the County of Record and with the lessor. You need to file an affidavit of Death & Heirship with the County and a Proof of Death and Heirship with the lessor. Both need to be notarized and the Proof with the lessor needs to be completed by an independent party who knew the deceased, witnessed, notarized and sent to said lessor. I have been doing this for the 12 counties and lessors in the 12 counties that my late spouse held. She died intestate. I chose the Simple Probate option allowed, according to Oklahoma Statutes. Thus far, I have processed 5 mineral interests of hers and have incurred no problem with either the counties or companies. I also have my own minerals in several other counties and have since my father passed in 2005. I had to do Simple Probate for these properties as well, as my father also passed intestate.


#6

Mr. Matthews,

Your statement seems to use Simple Probate and Affidavit of Death and Heirship as being interchangeable. They are not.


The proper probate procedures that will be required will depend on a number of things. Value of the estate, has a probate in a foreign state already been completed, etc. Standard Probate, Ancillary Probate and Simplified/Summary Probate all come to mind. Each has different requirements and procedures.

You only have to complete a probate in one county in the State of Oklahoma to cover all of the properties owned in the state. You then file a certified copy of the Decree of Distribution in those counties in which property is located. The proprieties should be described correctly in the decree.

I do not feel an Affidavit of Death and Heirship is substitute for a probate. It is not a legal conveyance or order. It is only a document in which someone testifies to "their perception" of the "facts". If completed 100% correctly it could become "marketable title" in 10 years. "Marketable title" has not encumbrance and is clean of defects so a court will require the purchaser to complete the purchase contract. Read some more about potential issues with an AoDH.

https://oklahomaminerals.com/affidavits-death-heirship-oklahoma/

Quite often a company will lease you with a AoDH and then hold the production proceeds in suspense until marketable title has been established. Usually by the Probate that should have occurred in the first place.

The county clerk should not provide any legal advice on what the document being filed should accomplish. I have heard them doing such personally and have also assisted several people which received incorrect advice. The should only be telling the person if that documents meets the requirements to be "filed" in their office, not the power or effect that instrument will have.

If you completed a Simple Probate for your late spouse, you do not need to file Affidavit of Death and Heirship to go along with it in each county. You need to file a copy of the final decree in the counties.

That said, advice found on the internet is often incorrect. My points may be just as incorrect in your case. Find the right professional to assist you to keep from creating more of a mess that what already exists.


#7

My statement stands as written. In each county and with each company involved, I have processed as stated and received both funds in arrears and monthlies. So, go ahead and spend $1,500 to $5,000 to probate. Filings such as I have outlined are considered a Simple Probate in the case of mineral interests when a spouse passes intestate.


#8

In Oklahoma a “summary probate” is a simple process for the client. Many times a summary probate will put the minerals into the name of the heirs within a few months. To qualify for a summary probate one of the following is needed: -the decedent resided outside of Oklahoma; -the decedent died 5 or more years; or -the estate in Oklahoma is valued at $200,000 or less.

If a Will has been probated in another state, An ancillary probate may be used. Again a shortened timeframe.