Need help with title and ownership information!

I'm trying to help my uncle who lives in Oregon and has no internet, he's also very old and has no idea what is going on with the whole mineral rights, property titles, leases or anything else. I'm just barely looking things over for the first time and I can't make any sense out of anything that he's given me. Apparently my uncle's wife had been given 2oo acres in McKenzie County North Dakota, by her mother. She was also receiving royalty checks regularly for the gas and oil on that property. When my uncle's wife passed away in January 1999, my uncle began receiving the royalty checks and was listed as the owner of that land. He was receiving the checks from 1999 to 2009, then he received a letter that stated he needed to provide a title to this land, and a death certificate for my aunt, and then another letter asking for inheritance affidavit, and a letter of proof of death and heirship - and probably others. I see here that there is a bank draft that is dated august 2011 for "payment of mineral acquisition" for 402,000.00. They wanted him to sign agreeing to the terms and he signed it and returned it and it came back to him with a big "x" and "title failure" written on the front of it. Since that happened in August 2011, my uncle has stopped receiveing the royalty checks altogether. He spoke with a lawyer who inquired about this matter, and the company replied something along the lines that my uncle has no rights to any of the land, and that it basically was never his to begin with. They stated that the only way he could possibly obtain a title to that land was through his wife who is "probably deceased anyway", and they also stated that they couldn't even find his wifes name on any inheritance records and they don't see how they could possibly be the owners of any of it, and they would have to probate at least 3 estates to get it into my uncles name. Basically I'm confused as to why my aunt would believe that this was her land to leave to my uncle if it wasn't hers, and why would they be sending them royalty checks for so many years if this was not her land. They also have several offers from differant companies offering my uncle between 1 and 2 thousand an acre for the land. Can anyone help me make sense of all of this? I'm concerned that my uncle may have done something wrong in this whole process, or is this a common situation? Please help if this makes sense to anyone, I don't know how else to help him with this.

Thank you.

DeeAnn Turnupseed


Sounds like a big ole mess you're trying to help your uncle with. Thank you for your effort. I would say you need to contact a Oil and Gas Attorney in the state of North Dakota to help you with all this legal jargon. Also someone on this Forum may suggest a good Oil/Gas attorney from North Dakota. You may even be able to find a landman that would help research the problem. It may take time to straighten all this out. Sounds like the oil company may have gotten themselves into a bad situation. Good luck and thanks again for helping your uncle.

Clint Liles

All you need to do is hire an attorney to do a quiet title suit, simple, easy, fairly cheap. Speak with a ND attorney.

Holy Toledo, for that much money at stake, go straight to an attorney, don't mess with us.