Probate or affidavit of death heirship option?

My FIL passed away and had mineral rights in Grady County. They were under a lease until last month. My MIL cannot find much info on it other than the lease agreements. She is not sure if she is on the deed or if it was just my FIL. She wanting to put the mineral rights in her son's name. We contacted an attorney but they are not in Grady county. She suggested Probate or Affidavit heirship option. Anyone familiar with the oil companies in the area in which they prefer? Or suggestion for local attorney in Grady County? TIA

You don't necessarily need an attorney in Grady county. We have holdings in 13 OK counties, including Grady, and our attorney has always handled our legal matters for all of those, even though the firm is in Ada (Pontotoc Co.). It sounds as if you may need a quick search of the records in Grady Co., but that's not something an attorney would usually be doing, anyway, though your attorney might arrange to have it done.

If you're interested, I can recommend a firm in Ada that has done a great deal of work for us concerning our mineral interests, done it well as far as I can see, and always charged very fairly. I have no interest in that firm other than as a satisfied customer. If you're interested, I think the way this works here is that you "friend" me, and we can then discuss it privately.

Your MIL should know whether or not her husband had a will or trust, what the terms were, whether or not it has been probated, etc. So I presume the question of who gets the FIL's interest is clear to your family. What you seem to need is to establish the ownership.

It wouldn't hurt to contact the producer listed on the lease document, which I assume you have. You should be able to find out whether or not they show other possible family members as owning interests in the same section, and it's vaguely possible they would send you a copy of the document they found in their title search, demonstrating your FIL's interest. However, if your MIL had an interest, she should likely also have signed a lease.

So your main options seem to me to be to: (1) hire an attorney and have him arrange a quick search of the Grady Co. records for the property in question; (2) hire a landman or similar agent (maybe find someone through a local title company?) specifically in Grady Co. to do a search for you; (3) go to Grady Co. and do it yourself. Regardless of which you do, you will eventually need an attorney to do transfer documents. This might involve such things as filing your FILs probate decree in Grady County, and filing a Quit Claim to transfer her interest, if she acquires it, to her son.

IANAL, just a mineral owner trying to help. No legal advice intended here. :)


Thank you for the quick reply and info!

If you could please pass on the name of the firm please.

What I do know is that my FIL did not have a will, in CA he did not need one since he did not have much. The only living family members is my MIL and son (my husband.) So nothing should be disputed. The lease did have both of their names on it. My MIL does not have the capacity to recall the details etc of the deed nor can we find it. I do have copies of the leases and the will that gave my FIL the heir to the mineral rights. I will try calling the OIl company a call.

We live out of state so not an option for us to go to Grady county.