Question about title tranfer


I have a question about a lease that I am getting in Ventura County. The grant deed for the mineral acres is divided between 6 entities with my mother being one entity. She passed away in 2005 and her will was not put through probate and her estate (which was basically nothing) was left to my father (her will was done 15 years before she passed and had no knowledge of these acres so they are not mentioned in her will). The grant deed was part of a trust that was written to stay within the blood line (if my mother died before my grandmother my name as well as my sisters names would be on the grant deed as it was with my cousins whose parents died before the trust was dispersed ). We are at the point of signing the lease (it has been negotiated, $50/acre and 1/5 royalties) but we need to get this in our names. My father is still alive and we are not sure how to proceed at this point. Does anyone know what our next step is? Is there something my father needs to sign to get this into our names?



If your father is the named beneficiary under the will he is the person who needs to take care of any title issues. I presume that the oil company is seeking your father's signature on the lease and is signing an "affidavit of heirship" or some other similar document which gives the oil company some comfort that they are leasing from the correct person. This document, however, is not sufficient to transfer title.

There is a very short procedure call an Affidavit Re: Real Property of Small Value that will allow your father to take the will, sign this affidavit and puts it through the probate court. While this is a probate procedure it is designed to be as simple as possible. The limitation is that the property must be worth less than $50,000. Here, nonproducing minerals almost always qualify as they are only valued at about $15 per acre. Once producing, however, you will have to value the reserves making this procedure typcially unavailable.

You can look up the procedure to filing an Affidavit re: Real Property of Small Value and find the forms online at the California Courts' website at

Once it is in his name via the will he can grant it to the trust.

Hope this helps.