Mineral estate question about my deceased aunt w/o descendants

Hello all and thank you for contributing to what looks like an excellent information resource!

My grandfather owned mineral royalties in North Dakota and had five children. When my grandmother died (preceded by her husband), her will left unequal shares to each of her 5 descendants. My father is her last surviving ‘child’. Dad’s brother John (now deceased), met and married his wife in Japan and brought her to USA in 1952. They never had any children. She recently died, I am sorry to say. She had the royalties in her name and was receiving payments. We haven’t yet found a will. I asked her, in 2019, if she had any contact with family in Japan and she did not. We have no way of knowing for sure.

A little research on North Dakota Informal administration of estate has led me to believe that her siblings or nieces/nephews would inherit the royalties, but I cannot tell whether siblings-in-law count? I am hoping that my father is rightful heir? Also, my parents are paying for her final expenses. Would they be able to legally take ownership in an insolvent estate situation?

You need to take all of your information to an attorney with knowledge of N. Dakota inheritance laws.

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We have been working with an attorney from my late aunt’s attorney’s office. He might not be the right person for the job, as he has been unresponsive at times. Thank you for your advice.

I would highly recommend an attorney that I have used for my minerals and estate work I’ve had to do in the past. She is very efficient and always got back to me very quickly. Her name is Michelle at Gibbens Law in Cando, ND.

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Thank you for the recommendation, heather!