Oil Company Sending Checks to Wrong Party


I recently became aware that royalty checks for which my daughter is a part owner have been sent and cashed by the executor of the estate, even though it was closed years ago. I of course am trying to determine the amounts of these checks to make a demand on that person, but have ran up to a brick wall from the oil companies. Could they perhaps share a liability for sending the checks and having them cashed by someone not authorized for 21 years? If not why are they refusing to give me the amounts of these checks?. Is there an easy way to get around their silence>


It was the responsibility of the executor and/or your daughter to notify the oil company of the change in ownership and send a copy of the related recorded deed. Your daughter should immediately do this. The executor of the estate has a duty to account for the royalties which have been paid. Did the executor file tax returns (federal and state)? Your daughter needs to send a demand letter to the executor for the accumulated royalties. She may need to employ an attorney if the executor is not cooperative. There may be some extenuating circumstances but 21 years is a long time unless the minerals have been in a trust and the executor is really the trustee.


Dear Don,

Do you know the percentage to which your daughter would be entitled?

If you do, it would require a little work, but by doing some reverse engineering, I could lead you in the way of making a decent estimate of the amount of dollars involved.

Sometimes money and family members don’t work out very well. The executor could well be personally liable not only from a civil standpoint but a criminal one as well.

If you know the decimal interest that your daughter would be entitled, and can furnish the API number of the well, I could rough out approximate revenues due.

Best wishes,

Buddy Cotten
Mineral Manager


Thank you so much for your help in putting perspective on this for us. There were no trusts or such, just a sibling who for some unknown reason likes to beat the system and steal stuff. For example she actually made a court case seeking to keep the cremains from my daughter. She lost of course, after causing lots of expense and delay.
She would likely toss such a request in the trash with a chuckle, she continues to get richer, the lawyer gets richer, we get even poorer. The probate was closed some time ago, but she sure found a way to enrich herself, apparently without a downside.


The percentage of each check would be 20%, that is the easy part. All I have been able to find out so far is at least three companies have paid royalties to the estate, the checks were dumped into unclaimed property for the state of Florida apparently due to lack of forwarding info. Working only from a name of the companies who were required to send new checks to the State of Florida, I have requested from each company a list of checks paid to that estate since 1997, with amounts. One company included the following in their response that they had sold the business, but would not divulge previous payments. So far no company seems to be responsive to my requests. Without knowledge of amounts and dates, there seems little I can do to recoup those amounts, whatever they were, even in a civil or criminal case. My daughter’s share of the unclaimed checks was around $1200, which the state of Florida paid her, based on that alone, the amount for 21 years would probably be sizeable.::

Lease Name - State E-9CHAVES CO NM PP .0166667
Lease Name - Kelly A State #1- CHAVES CO NM PP0166667

I cannot decipher that information, other than apparently the leases are in Chaves County New Mexico, exact location unknown to me.
The companies who paid royalties were Navajo Refining Company, Slayton Resources, BP America Production Company, and EGL Resources INC.


I cannot find what documents or forms to use to notify the companies of the change of ownership. I am assuming that in this case a copy of the death certificate of the person they are sending the payments to (he died in 1997). A copy of the will that leaves it to his daughter, then a copy of the daughters death certificate, and my daughters appointment as her personal representative (what they call an executrix in New Mexico)… The probate file is huge (his girlfriend wanted her “loans” back), surely they don’t need all of that. Any suggestions or comments? I would like to do it right the first time.