Land & Mineral rights

Recently learned of the inheritance of 200 acres in East Texas, left to our family by our great great grandmother, Emerline Stanley Estate. Not sure where to start as part of the family has been left out on prior monies paid for the sale of lumber. Furthermore, who like a map with breakdown of land owned under Emeraline Stanley Estate. Where do I start?

“East Texas” is a big place. For help, it would be beneficial for you to give the Legal Description, ie, County, Section, RR Survey, etc. More than likely the best place to start is going to an Abstract/Title office in the county this interest resides.

You start with the probate records in the county in which your relative resided and find out whether a Will was probated or whether there was a judicial determination of heirship and if a probate inventory was filed. If nothing there, then search real property records in such county or in any county any real estate was owned. If nothing, then you may want to consult with a land man or a probate attorney,

In this kind of situation, you are probably best served by hiring an oil and gas attorney or landman to do a formal mineral title search to show the ownership of these mineral interests by your family.

With that title search in hand, you can then do whatever you need to do to cure any defects in your chain of title. For example, you may need to have an affidavit of heirship prepared using the correct forms and then filed in the county deed records. With the mineral title search and the file-marked affidavit of heirship in hand, you can then go to the Texas Railroad Commission records and find out what operators may be producing your mineral interests. You can then contact the operators and send them a copy of the title search and the affidavit of heirship and request that they correct their records to show your family as owners and pay royalties to your family.

Be aware that mineral titles can be adversely possessed, just as in the case of title to the surface of property. Therefore, you might want to take action sooner rather than later.

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