After recieving royality payments from Apache for several years I have been advised there was a dispute with ownership. I am clueless as to what is happening with my case. Payments have stopped for about 3 years now and I have been informed that they were deferred to an account until the dispute is setteled. I know I am paying taxes on the property so I dont understand the dispute. Has anyone else had this problem and is there a legal counsel already handling cases against Apache. I need resolution. Thanks for any help.
You need to go online to Apache Corporation : Apache owner relations to access your account information via the internet, OR call 1-855-301-5241 and leave a message that you want a full description of the nature of the “title dispute” that has stopped your payments for 3 years. Tell them to respond immediately to let you know they are looking into your inquiry. (Oildex is very good about staying on top of inquiries–they are a contracted royalty-owner-relations company).
Since it has been 3 years since you got paid, I strongly advise you to go into the Unclaimed Property website for the state in which you were living when you received that last payment from Apache. It is possible that your money has been paid over to that State (even though technically it wasn’t supposed to be). See if there are any funds from Apache listed. File a claim if there are. This will cause the state Comptroller’s Office to contact Apache and tell them a claim for the money has been made, and telling Apache they must get it resolved. Hope this helps.
If there is a title dispute, it will be your problem to get it resolved. An oil company will hold the royalties related to the disputed interest until title is clear among the parties and then disburse the royalties. Or if your chain of title is not clear then the company can hold the royalties while you clear up the missing links. Send a certified letter to Apache and ask for the title opinion or other detailed documentation and description of the title issue. You may be able to simply file information in deed records. Some oil companies will not identify the other claimants until an attorney is involved. If there is a question of deed interpretation or other legal dispute, then you may be able to settle with the other claimants or have to go to court. Do not simply continue waiting.
I agree you should contact Apache and ask them to give you specifics on the issue. You can even ask for a copy of the specific title requirement that put your interest in suspense. Ask for the Division Order Analyst that handled this issue and get their email so you have a direct contact to follow up with. Once you have the specifics, then you may need to hire a landman or title attorney to help you resolve it. Best of luck! Michelle
P.S. There is a difference between suspending an account for reason of “title dispute” and for reason of “title requirement”. Technically, the division order analyst isn’t supposed to suspend an account using the company code for “title dispute” unless there has been correspondence or other formal notification to the company, or in the public record, that someone else is claiming to own all or part of the interest, or that a lawsuit has been filed by someone claiming to own all or part of the account owner’s interest. By contrast, “title requirement” technically means that there is a specific legal problem (big or small) stated in a title opinion with that owner’s interest that, until cleared up by the owner, the title attorney advises that payments should be suspended.
All of that said, the majority of division order analysts do not code all suspended accounts correctly. Many use “title dispute” for just about any problem with the interest except “bad address”. They don’t know it should be used only when there is a bona fide claim by a stranger-to-title asserting to own all or part of the interest. And “title requirement” for some analysts can be anything and everything else that’s not “bad address” (used when a check or correspondence is returned by the post office undelivered). Lack of proper oversight at these companies cause these suspense reasons sometimes to be used incorrectly. Every database I’ve worked with allows an endless number of suspense codes to be created for use by analysts. The right one for every instance should be available.
Also, be prepared that not all companies allow their division order analyst to provide any part of any title opinion, even if it’s only the pages pertaining to the owner’s interest. Why? There is a certain amount of liability attached to giving anyone legal advice concerning legal title to their real property, even if that advice is already written by a lawyer. The lawyer has relied 100% on the title documents and information provided to him/her by the oil company asking for them to write the opinion. Any actions taken by an outside 3rd party based on what the attorney wrote in the opinion could cause “damages” if the advice turned out to be wrong because the attorney didn’t see a document that would have changed their advice. So many oil companies forbid their analysts to provide copies of any pages or paragraphs photocopied from a title opinion, while others will allow it.
This topic was automatically closed after 60 days. New replies are no longer allowed.