My father passed away eight years ago and we just recently found out that he owned mineral rights on three wells, two in Canadian Co. and one in Major Co. What do I need to do to get these transferred into his children's names. I have copies of the mineral deeds but these were not part of the trust when my parents passed away. I live in Kansas but still have an Aunt that lives in Oklahoma that made me aware of these mineral rights. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Disclaimer: I’m not a professional
These can get complicated and depend on quite a few details.
The state he was a resident of when he passed?
If there a will (if there was a trust there usually is a will)
What the will says. (I understand some wills have a catch-all to place everything owned personally and not specifically listed to be placed into the trust for final disposition)
What the trust says. (If the will ties items into the trust).
Was his estate probated? And in what state.
The value of the estate if it was not probated.
The order in which your parents passed.
If the surviving parent remarried.
Trustee of the trust and if they are still living
Executor of the estate
Information in mineral deeds you have in hand. Since you mentioned the Aunt, it sounds like they were from his parents to your father and his siblings. It is a good thing these deeds exist. I have seen several cases where they were not correctly passed for several generations.
It is very likely you will need an attorney to do it correctly and maintain marketable title. While it is not uncommon to see affidavits of heirship used in some of these instances, it does not maintain a chain of marketable title. Eventually, something will come up. From what I have seen many people go through; I feel the sooner it is done correctly, the less it is going to cost you long run.
Thanks Rick, My parents are from Kansas and yes, they had a trust set up for my dad and mom. Dad passed before mom then when mom passed the estate was split evenly between us four children. The mineral rights in these two counties were not included in the trust. If we had known about them we could have taken care of them before the trust was closed, however that didn't happen and now we need to get them transferred so they can be managed properly. I do have copies of the deeds from when my dad purchased them from his mothers estate and was put in his name. Is it best to get an attorney in the Oklahoma area of should I try and use someone in Kansas? Thanks for your help!
I believe it would be best to use an attorney in Oklahoma. Probate and real property laws vary so much state to state. The attorney/firm should be familiar with Oil and Gas as well as probate and title law. Unless the Kansas attorney is practicing in both states, I don’t believe he will be able to assist you without engaging an Oklahoma attorney.
The language of his will should determine how it passes. Oklahoma is not a community property state. When he purchased the property, the deed was created. How he “titled” the property will be a factor. If he died without a will intestate succession comes into play.
If his will was probated in Kansas, there is a process called Ancillary Probate that can be used. Oklahoma property may distribute differently because Oklahoma law will be used to interpret the will.
It is also very possible it will transfer to your mother’s estate (or a portion) requiring it to be processed twice.
Thanks Rick! I appreciated all your help. I am in the process of finding an attorney to help with getting these deeds transferred.