Non-Probated Estate Question (TX/OK)


#1

Question on effectively transferring title after the owner has died:

This happened back in the late 1970’s. A gentleman, being the owner of an oil and gas mineral interest, died testate (with a will). The minerals were in Pecos County, Texas, and the gentleman resided in Oklahoma County, Oklahoma. The Last Will and Testament of the gentleman was filed in Oklahoma County, Oklahoma, but the estate was never probated. Obviously the Last Will and Testament should be filed in Pecos County, Texas, as well, but my question is in regard to lack of probate proceedings ever being filed.

So, since the death occurred around 40 years ago and no one has ever contested the ownership, is the filing of the Last Will and Testament enough? Or, would it be ideal to file an Affidavit of Facts or something similar to cleanly transfer title to the heir listed in the will?

Thanks!


#2

I actually just dealt with this, or what it sounds like you’re talking about. However, for clarity, are you saying it wasn’t probated at all, or just in TX?

If it was probated in OK, then…

Ancillary Administration

If there is no need for formal administration in Texas, a Will of the non-resident (foreign Will) that was probated in another state or country may be given effect in Texas by filing authenticated copies of the Will, along with the order admitting the Will to probate in the deed records of the counties in Texas where the decedent owned real property. If there is a need to administer a non-resident decedent’s estate in Texas, the executor or executrix named in the foreign Will may wish to apply for ancillary probate of the foreign Will and ancillary Letters Testamentary. However, if the foreign Will has not been admitted to probate in the non-resident’s state or country where he resided, an original probate proceeding may be necessary in Texas. Source; Ancillary Administration in Texas - Sheehan Law PLLC

also for some light reading heh… https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/SDocs/ESTATESCODE.pdf - probating starts around p.458


#3

Texas does allow the probate documents for a Will probated in another state to be filed directly into the county records where the Texas land is located. But the requirement is “probated”. An Oklahoma Court must issue a Final Order in the probate proceeding, and it be signed by the judge, before an exemplified copy of that order can be filed into the deed records in the Texas County. If there is no Oklahoma Final Order, then an Affidavit of Heirship will be required in Texas because title to the minerals will pass according to Texas’ laws of descent and distribution. The terms of the Will are not honored unless they follow the Texas laws on how the interest must be distributed among heirs. Bottom line: filing the Last Will and Testament without a Final Order signed by an Oklahoma Judge will be a waste of money. It will have no effect on who signs the lease or gets royalty revenue.


#4

Some people deposit a Last Will with the court clerk for safekeeping. It can be released to a judge having jurisdiction over the estate of the decedent. However, the statute is unclear whether the Will can be sent to an out of state judge.
http://www.oscn.net/applications/oscn/DeliverDocument.asp?CiteID=72966