Ownership of oil/gas mineral rights

Upon my mother's death, my sister and I inherited a portion of an oil lease that my grandfather had purchased sometime in the 1940's or 1950's. I am not sure if I still own a portion of the surface land. Lately, I have been getting offers from various companies to purchase that portion. My sister died several years ago and from what I understand, my parent's will indicated that all properties would go to the surviving sister upon their deaths if one of us were deceased.

Right before her death, my sister forced a sale of the property, but even after the sale, my mother's name and my name continue to be listed as the owners of a portion of the well according to the Midland Texas County tax records. I have paid the taxes on the property even after the sale. I have also not received any money so I don't know if the well is producing or not. Part of the problem is that I did not change my address for the well when we moved since I thought it was sold. I understand that some of the letters that I have been receiving are "lost leads" so to speak, but there is always a statement in the offers to the effect that they have checked for the owner and the offers are to me.

I called the landman who purchased what I thought was the total property still owned and he stated that he would reimburse me for the taxes. However, I have not allowed that until I am able to do some research or get help to ascertain whether there was another portion of the well that is still owned by me or whether he did not change the ownership on the tax rolls.

A representative from the Midland Tax Assessor told me that with my name on the tax rolls that I was the owner according to them. I seem to remember that my mother had said something a long time ago about purchasing another share of the well and so upon her death there would have been 2 full shares. My sister and I sold one share that we thought was the only share and the money was split between the 2 of us.

So, I have 2 questions, how do I know that there is another share and it still belongs to me? And the second question is that in Texas is there a statute of limitations for a buyer to change the ownership title so that ownership was not changed would it stay my property by his default?

I would appreciate any information that might help me and/or direct me to how I can solve this question of ownership.

My gosh girl,

Get an attorney to sort all this out for you ... a real estate attorney with O&G experience.

Good luck,


Hi Karen -

I just checked the Mineral Tax Rolls for all of the State of Texas and didn't find anything under your name. What other names would or could any producing mineral or royalty interests be under?

The Tax Rolls in many of the Counties in West Texas are nightmares - riddled with mistakes. You may be paying taxes on somebody else's interests. I've heard stories about how even after a family brought copies of the Deeds and whatever into the Appraisal District to prove their ownership, the Appraisal District still wouldn't change their tax records!

The only way to tell whether and what you and your sister might still own is to look up everything your Grandparents and Parents purchased and everything they sold. Then reconcile those Deeds and Assignments to see what they kept.

You can do that in Midland, at the County Clerk's Office, or online at one of several websites that have Midland County's Records.

I am a little confused by what you mean by "shares". Do you mean percentages of Working Interest in a well or set of wells? Or do you mean undivided mineral and/or royalty interests?

Hope this helps -

Charles Emery Tooke III

Certified Professional Landman

Fort Worth, Texas

Thanks for your reply. I don't know all the terms, but what I mean would be a percentage that is owned of a well. I am not sure if that means undivided mineral and/or royalty interests. On the info at the tax office, the description is 320 acres, with something like .0156 which indicates what I called a "share".

The name that the property is listed under is Medford A. I am her daughter and my sister is deceased. My name is Karen Medford Wuertz and the sole owner if the property is still owned by me. I have found the information on the tax rolls in Midland County under my mother's name with my name listed below hers. The company that was to have purchased the percentage does not show the property as listed on their holdings in Midland.

I also know that my paternal grandparents had a capped gas well on their farm in Ellis county. I have no idea what is going on with that but was told that the mineral rights were kept. I need to find the deed of sale in Ellis county to locate the information on that since I don't know its status. My cousins and I who would be the living heirs have not received any information on that well in years. I guess I've got more research to do in this county!

Do you know if there is a statute of limitations for transferring ownership in Texas? Had I not been paying taxes on the property in Midland for the last 4 years, would it have been on the market for not having taxes paid?

I really appreciate your help. As you can tell, I really know little about this business and it is much more complicated than I ever would have suspected.

Thank you again.

Karen Wuertz

Thanks Pat, you are right because it is a mess. I just don't understand why the company who supposedly purchased the percentage would not have the title transferred into their name. And if I hadn't been paying the taxes for the last 4 years, I guess it would have been sold for non-payment of taxes. I hadn't realized how complicated this whole thing was since I have obviously had no experience with Texas mineral laws/rights. Consultation with an attorney will probably be the only way to go.


What was your Mother's name? What possible names could any interests be under?

It is Medford A and it shows JW Whitefield as the original owner. He was my grandfather.

Karen -

Please see the attached. Alice Medford only shows up on one currently or recently producing well in the State of Texas, the J W Whitefield No. 1 in Midland County, which has been producing since at least the 1960's.

You can check the County Records to see if whoever supposedly purchased the interests has filed their Deed or Assignment yet. Maybe even suggest they check their files to see if they can find the Deed. Otherwise, it appears that you have inherited the interests.

I know of no statute of limitations regarding the transfer of interests in Texas. Even if there is a statute regarding the probating of a Will, with your being the only one left it appears to be yours.

You can check with an Attorney about the expenses involved in probating any Wills involved or Administrations of any Estates, but I think all you may need to clarify your ownership would be an Affidavit of Heirship.

Hope this helps -

Charles Emery Tooke III

Certified Professional Landman

Fort Worth, Texas


Karen, you may already know this, but for a long time I didn’t. In the State of Texas, you only pay taxes on mineral interests when they are producing. Sometimes that’s how someone will find out they own mineral rights because they start getting tax statements from new production. Also, I inherited some minerals from my parents that was producing when they inherited it from theirs and I have never seen a deed. Your first post sounded to me like you were assuming you were paying taxes on the surface land as opposed to the minerals, but I may have misunderstood. I’ve probably only confused you further, but I hope not. Good luck. Linton

I do have the Affidavit of Heirship. Now I will try to find the filing of the deed. You have been very helpful and I really appreciate your time. At least I have a direction to start and go from there. Thank you so much.


No Linton, you didn't confuse me further. I had wondered why I was getting tax statements after the time I sold the well. I thought I sold the minerals and don't know about the surface land. Now I know that the well is back into production which explains the offers that are coming in to buy the interest in the well. Thank you.


Bravo! You have reached a higher level of understanding and learning by these people who have taken their time to help you. It's a good start. Hang in there.

Good luck,


You are right. Mr. Tooke III has given me direction that I needed so that I can get this cleared up. I have never belonged to a forum like this but have found the people here to be generous with their information...oh, if the rest of the world was as good as this forum in its generosity!!

Thanks, Pat.


Karen, you have come to the right place. I didn’t know anything when I came here either. If you search the site for questions you have or terms you don’t understand, you will find a wealth of information. And the people are the best, very willing to help. I have met great people and made some very good friends. Just be sure to do your homework and know who you’re dealing with before you sign on any dotted lines. You may have something very valuable and you don’t want to just give it away. Linton

Oh, also I meant to mention, sometimes they only pay out quarterly, or if and when the production reaches a certain amount. I have some really old wells and I’ll get a quarterly check for $12 or some little amount because my interest is very small or the well produces so little. So it could be your well has always been producing, just hasn’t produced up to the dollar amount where they pay out. Also, do you think perhaps you and your sister just sold the surface but retained the minerals. That’s what it sounds like. Linton

All good advice Linton. I think my next step is to look for a deed that was recorded in the Midland County records about any sales. I have been looking and have not found a place that actually lists deeds yet in a public site. Some of the sites cost a lot of money to research. But, I'm hoping that I can find one that doesn't charge for looking at the deeds.

Thanks again, Karen

Many counties in Texas rely upon the operator of the well to provide them the ownership for tax rolls. If the buyer or seller fails to notify the operator, tax records will ultimately suffer. I find names sometimes of people who were last in title in the 1950s still listed on Division orders and tax rolls. In my opinion, tax rolls are a tool to use, but they are not 100% reliable. You really need to determine if you still own an interest by checking deed records. Then get the operator to make any corrections if necessary, and then get the county to make corrections.

With the help of all of you, I have solved the issue. I went into the Midland County records of deed and found the deed on the property. So, apparently as was suggested earlier, the tax records are not accurate and now all I have to verify is whether the property ID matches what was sold. If it does, then that would mean there was not an additional percentage of stock owned and while my name is still on the tax rolls, with the deed found would have no owned interest in the well anymore. Unfortunate for me. However, I can't thank everyone enough for giving me a path to follow in order to get to the truth of the situation. You all are generous with your knowledge and I am proud to have met all of you online.

Thanks so much,


What year was the property possibly sold? If the buyer does not reimburse you for the taxes you paid, there may be some remedy available. There is a 25.25c clerical error (protest) motion that you can file that may qualify, and allow the county to change the ownership back to to 2012 (if necessary). If you run into problems getting your money back from the buyer, please let me know and I can give you additional instructions on working with the county to make the correction. The deadline for fixing 2012 accounts is December 31, 2017, so if the sale was in 2012 or earlier, you need to move quickly.

The property was sold in Feb. of 2014. This year I contacted the buyer and asked why I was getting the tax statements for the property. In this forum, I found out that taxes aren't charged on a non-producing well and that's why I got the taxes this year. The buyer offered to pay the taxes and I did not give him the amount until I had checked out what was going on with respect to my continued name on the property. I also found that the well had produced since the buyer purchased the percentage. Of course, I did not receive the money from production either but paid the Midland county taxes on the property.

To clarify, are you saying that since he did not pay the taxes that the property could revert back into my name per the 25.25c clerical error (protest) motion? Would that make the purchase invalid then if I qualified for the protest motion? Would I then owe him the purchase price but be able to buy it back?

Kitchen, if I were able to do that, it would really be great. The buyer put me in a forced sale position (long story) and I did not want to sell the percentage at that time. I told the buyer that he had pulled a slick one on me and didn't appreciate it, but at the time could do nothing but sell.

Thank you for this information. I will look forward to hearing back from you.