Royalty payments paid to the wrong person

If payment is being sent to the wrong person (because he did not probate the deceased’s will stating who inherits the royalties), do the operators keep sending it to the wrong person? Is there any sort of notification that can be sent to them to stop sending the payments until the legalities can get worked out?

Yes, you can absolutely notify the operator of your claim to royalties. In many cases, if you have a legally cognizable claim, the operator will suspend payments of royalties to anyone until the claims are sorted out.

However, first you may want to check with the operator to find out why royalties are not being sent out and also to confirm who they show as being entitled to royalty payments. It’s possible that royalties are not being sent out because the well is shut in, or down for repairs, or some other reason. The operator will require you prove your entitlement to the royalties through the will, an affidavit of heirship or some other method. I am not a probate lawyer, but you might want to check with a probate lawyer about whether or not you can force the will to be probated. It’s my recollection that a beneficiary can do so, but it will depend on the probate law of the state that has jurisdiction over the probate.

Royalty theft/fraud can be a problem. Probably best to hire an attorney to handle the probate and potentially seek recovery of royalties from the company and/or wrongful recipient.

Just my two cents. When my dad died in 2001 I was left with dealing with many interests in Texas and Louisiana. He inherited them from my grandfather. He was a geophysicist that had leases on paper that filled a file cabinet. I went through all of those papers and every time I came across the name of a county in either state I sent an affidavit of heirship to that county. I wasn’t even sure that the leases were still in effect for me. Just to be sure. Couldn’t hurt. Good luck. Didn’t cost too much either.

Thank you for your response. Good to know the term - affidavit of heirship. Thank you!

Thank you. The wells are in TX. Should she hire a TX attorney?

That’s a smart move. Thank you

I do not make any binding moves regarding my interests without the advice of an attorney. I have learned the hard way. My interests are in Texas also.