Loss of mineral rights to relatives

my mother inherited mineral rights in stark county north dakota . Her and six siblings divided many acres between them. the receipt from gulf oil back in 1980 states 480 acres on two los of land im unsure if this was just her portion. Anyway my mother died and so did her brother, of course my mother stated in her will that we were to inherit her portion of the mineral rights. In october my aunt told me we were going to be receiving a lump sum checks for the lease of the land.No she didnt they didnt consult with any of us first as to the deal also shes withheld nearly all the information period. We were my4 siblings and i were told we would receive 6 thousand and some odd dollars in november. In november i was told that my grandmothers will stated her living children inherit all the mineral rights .....my grandmother died 10 years before my mother.now the siblings of my mom got checks for 24 thousand dollars. i want to do something about this i dont know what to do or where to start.

go to courthouse in the county she died and get a copy of the will

go to courthouse in the county she died and get a copy of the will

Renee - I think you are being snockered! The reason I say this is because your mother was still alive and fit the inheritance requirement when your grandmother died. Following her sibling's line of reasoning, what do they think will happen when the rest of them die? Who will own the mineral rights then? By all means, get a copy of your Grandmother's will, but also find out where it was probated and get a copy of that (both are probably in the county where she died). You can research county courthouses on your own by asking a few questions. Most of the landmen who are researching heirship properties for the oil companies are quite helpful here in WV, they've helped us a lot. And I suspect they are just as helpful in ND (where I grew up, no less). To resolve it, you will probably need to hire an attorney but I understand they are swamped in western ND right now. Of course, those in Grand Forks or Fargo (or even those in western MN who are licensed in ND) would probably travel there if necessary (they'd just need to take their travel trailer so they'd have a place to sleep!). If you can't afford an attorney, look for one who will work on a contingency basis--they don't get paid unless you win. Of course, it might cost you more in the long run than hiring one upfront but it is an option. I wish you success!


If the situation is as you've outlined above;

1. First, Grandmother's will left minerals to surviving children. Secondly your Mom died after Grandmother... Then your Mom owned a portion of those minerals. No matter what your Aunt may believe, your Aunt (and siblings) don't own nor have control of your Mom's share of Grandmother's minerals. It does not matter that your Mom is now deceased.

2. Unless your Grandmom, or Mom & siblings, signed away some executive rights (or you've signed the lease) your Aunt can't legally lease your Mom's share of the minerals. So any lease she signed would not bind your Mom's interest, it only binds your Aunt's (and those who signed). The oil company who leased your Aunt needs to be informed of this so they can potentially lease your Mom's interest through you and your Mom's heirs.

So yes you will want/need an attorney before this is done. However save yourself some cost and first research it yourself as far as possible. As Nancy stated, get a copy of your grandmother's will and probate papers from the county where she died. Read them carefully so you know exactly how her minerals were conveyed. Then get a copy in Stark Co. of the lease your Aunt signed so you can see whom she leased to, and seek a copy of any conveyance documents from your Grandmother or Mom (if any exist).

You may need to rely on an attorney's help right from the start if you're unfamiliar with what's written above. Though none of this is too complicated and you may chase this down on your own if possible. One thing sounds certain, you cannot solely rely on the information given by your Aunt. Be cautious of about signing anything, nor should you cash any check, from her or from an oil company until you are certain of what is going on. Now go get the documents so you will know the facts. Good Luck.

I agree you should start with the documents and understand them as best you can. For the estates of both your grandmother and your mother, you want copies and understanding of the following: In probate court where the person died, try to get the probate court document accepting the Last Will and Testament, a probate court document listing the inventory of the estate, and some sort of probate court document like a Final Decree outlining the heirship. In probate court where the property is located, if different from where the estate was probated, see if an ancillary or secondary probate case was perhaps opened, and if so, you want copies of something like the acceptance of the Last Will, inventory of assets located in that county, and the final decree from the Court. In the office of the County Clerk or Register of Deeds where the property was located, you want to find out what's been recorded: Perhaps the Will itself, certified by the Probate Court of the county where the estate was probated, was put into the deeds records, i.e. the records of conveyances in the County Clerk or Register of Deeds. Additionally, you want to find out if any deeds effectuating the Last Will (and/or the Probate Court final decree) were put in the records of conveyances or Book of Deeds or whatever that particular County Clerk or Register of Deeds calls it. The conveyances effectuating the Last Will or Probate Court final decree or whatever it may have been called, if there were any, would have been signed by Executrix or Administrator or Personal Representative of the Estate of So-and-so. If you find deeds of record, then go back to the probate court proceeding and make sure that the person signing the deed had been duly appointed in the probate court proceeding, either the ancillary court proceeding in the county where the property is located, or more likely in the primary Probate Court proceeding where the decedent lived/died. Also verify that the deed conveys in accordance with the Last Will, without error; you want to verify the heirship/grantee and the legal description of the asset.

My best guess is that the Probate Court employees can help you find the Probate Court case number and can help you figure out which documents you want. Some County Clerk's offices will help you search for deeds by name of grantor or grantee, but some are too busy to help you search. If nobody at the Clerk's office will help you search for deeds, then you can ask a title company to help you get the copies. Or the title companies can provide the volume and page numbers (or Liber/page or Book/page), then with that info you are able to go back to County Clerk, learn the price per page, how many pages, and order copies. Alternatively you could ask a title company if they can give you more comprehensive assistance, how they would do it, how much they charge per hour, etc. (I haven't had the greatest of luck with expecting clerical staff at title companies to do "thoughtful detective work".)

If you need help from a title company, you probably need the legal description of the property.

Also, you'll want to obtain a copy of the oil and gas lease from the County Clerk or Register of Deeds where the property is located.

If you get wind of a trust being involved, things may be more complex. For example, your grandmother may have left the minerals in some sort of a trust for her children. Trust documents are generally not put on the public record. Bank trustee might assist you, but uncle or aunt might not? Try to obtain copy of the trust agreement, i.e. the document which created the trust.

Are you aware that there are differing types of co-ownership? One type is where A and B own, and if A dies, B inherits. Another type is where A and B own, and if A dies, A's heirs inherit. That is another aspect you will want to verify.

Best of luck.

Actaully we have lots of hotel in Eastern MT with rooms available. I know of two in Wibaux that rent for under 70 a night. Also attend some of the county and city meetings on mineral rights. I own property in Beach ND in Golden Valley County