Within the past year I inherited my mother’s mineral rights in Howard County. She had been getting royalties for 5+ years. I signed new division orders in my name and provided all of the proper paper work, paid property taxes and was receiving monthly royalties. Suddenly in October payments were suspended and the explanation was a title issue was discovered from 1959. The oil company now claims that I have no mineral rights. I don’t know whether to trust the oil company and move on, or investigate this myself somehow. If it helps the minerals are in: SEC 18, BLK 32 01N, Survey T&P RR Co, Acreage 587.88 ; and SEC 19, BLK 32 T1N, A-137, Survey T&P RR Co. Also, the oil company suggested that they may send a letter requesting repayment of past royalties although they mentioned they had no legal grounds to collect. Can someone help me with this? Thanks in Advance
Do not just walk away without being sure that you do not have any mineral rights. You should contact the oil company and ask for a copy of both the original title opinion and title run and the revised title opinion and run, including the 1959 deed or other documentation. If they refuse to give you this information, you can have an attorney review your information and demand the information. Did your mother receive royalties under older leases from 1959 forward? You may have an adverse possession claim of the minerals.
There are a lot of variables here - you should get someone to look at it. adverse possession will be difficult w/o surface ownership. Are payments in “suspense”, or are they paying someone else?
Thank you for your response. I will absolutely take your advice.
Payments were in suspense for a couple of months but now they are saying I will not be receiving any more royalties. One of my concerns, of course, is a fraudulent document. I will be taking the advice on this board and do some digging. Thank you for your response.
Thank you for your response. I will utilize the directory.
You might consider hiring an independent landman to do the research. I had a huge mess with my mother’s estate and 3 lawyers could not get it right so I hired a landman and she’s made the process much easier. She’s not cheap but if I hadn’t hired her, the last attorney would have done everything wrong, AGAIN.
I would think you could go to or call the Howard county clerk’s office and investigate this yourself. Give them the property tax information and see what their records show. There should be deed records showing the mineral rights changing hands.
It looks like your grandfather conveyed all of his royalty back in the day which looked to have been a 1/2 interest.
I know that this must be very frustrating. Here is what I would do.
- Call the Land department and speak with person familiar with the situation. Make sure to write his/her name down. Ask for a copy of the Title Opinion being used to state you have no mineral interest. It is important to understand why they are seeing the interest lost. Every title opinion has requirement that clear the questions that the attorney doing the opinion has regarding the interest in this operators leasehold. In a number of cases these requirements can be overlooked by the operator has not important to them. Sometimes the documents are miss read. In fact, I spend approximately $3000 to have a title opinion attorney read the second line of a deed where our interest was conveyed. Frustrating. I saw it, the landman said he saw it and it still took an attorney to write a letter. This was Oklahoma. In Texas,
- You can write a letter to the operator/payor and send it certified. I would say that this would fall under the 30 day window for a response. Here is the Natural Resource Code:
Sec. 91.505. PROVIDING OTHER INFORMATION. If a royalty interest owner requests information or answers to questions concerning a payment made pursuant to this subchapter, other than information requested under Section 91.504, and the request is made by certified mail, the payor must respond to the request by certified mail not later than 30 days after the request is received.
I would say this is concerning a payment, one that has stopped being made. Make sure you give the operator/payor enough information in the letter to find your interest. And if you have supporting documentation showing the conveyance of the interest to you and your family, include copies. The more information you can help them with the better. In this letter, addressed to the landman you spoke with, include your demand for the title opinion in so far as it covers your interest.
If the operator/payor fails to respond in the 30 day window (to be safe, I would wait 60 days) you can take civil action. I would first contact the Texas Railroad Commission. While they will not help in contractual matters or title issues between operators and mineral/royalty owners, they will note that the operator/payor is in possible violation of the Natural Resource Code. I have even had one of the commissioners staff call the operator and ask why they did not respond.
The certified letter is taken seriously with most operators and you should have a response that will either answer your question or give you direction in where you need to go next.
It is so kind of you to take such care and time in responding to me. I have requested the title opinion and will hopefully get a copy of it next week. I will definitely take your advice if needed. Thank you so much!
Thank you for your reply. Where are you finding this information? The deed is in my mother’s name.
Very cordially ask the oil company for a copy of the title issue and then I certainly would hire a good title attorney to verify their are correct.
I ran a preliminary title search using the probate for your your mother and used her maiden name Addison to continue the search further.
Always always always check things out when dealing with ‘oil companies’. Never trust any of them. Take it from someone that has done just that and in the early 2000’s I ended up losing 3/4ths of my royalties on 5 wells because I trusted the wrong attorney dealing with a Division Order. These were wells that had been in our family since 1955. My grandfather discovered the field. He was a Geophysicist.
Thank you all for your advice.
I have had this happen, company admitted they were wrong in not paying me for a well that is 10 years old, they sent division order for last 4 years only , said that was statue of limitations. more or less they were keeping probably 4/5ths of value of production, and only going to pay the last 4 years about 1/5 of the value. They legally can steal from you and admit it. I too had a lawyer look this over, and not till i proceed on my own did i even get them to admit and send division orders. It took a notice and demand sent certified. I haven’t signed Division orders , has it just doesn’t seem right to have to agree that they only pay me back 4 years not 10, just to get money legally mine. I want to void the lease, but dont think i will be able to due to no money for attorney, much less finding one who will fight, as i said i had previously went to not 1 but 2 attorneys, and they only cost me for no results
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