I'm a CPA with a client who's mother in law inherited rights from her mother, who rec'd them from an aunt or something like that. The aunt willed them to the grandmother and several others, the several others are mostly missing/unknown. The mother in law before her mother died, they knew about these rights and began the process of putting their name on it. Several years later and after the mother died, this mother in law was contacted as the only name they had in a list of heirs.
Mother in law and her two siblings have done everything necessary to claim their rights and have a few wells up, one producing, with more being planned and expect to rec'v royalties soon.
What happens to the unclaimed rights for the missing/disinterested heirs. What happens to the royalties. Does mother in law and her siblings have a right to claim this as the only known survivors, or at least the only interested survivors. Can they file a quiet claim, etc..
She has heard through landman or someone in the chain of leasing that a couple people have been found but have no interest in providing the information necessary to make their claim legal? This might sound dumb, but it was a lot of work, of course it was work when there were no royalties on the horizon, in hindsight it was pretty simple for the revenue that will come in.
My limited knowledge is that the land owner can make a claim on abandoned rights, but is this really abandoned? when there are fractional interest that aren't abandoned, do the fractional owners have a right to claim them? the easy answer is anyone can make a claim, but is there a legitimate chance that she can make this claim valid? She doesn't want them to go to strangers or the state if she can help it? She assumed people would be found and step up as her and her siblings did but for the past couple years, no one.
This is in North Dakota, bakken, not sure what county.
Main questions, do they have a claim to others rights? where do the royalties go? escrow? can they file a claim, like quiet claim for the rest of the rights?