Sale of mineral rights by non heir

I recently became aware of inherited mineral rights. Recently, these rights were sold by a non heir. After at lot of research, here is the situation:

  1. Mineral rights were inherited by my grandfather.
  2. He died in 1997 and left a will passing the mineral rights to his wife, my grandmother
  3. My grandmother filed an Affidavit of Heirship in Canadian Co, OK in 1997 and began receiving royalties.
  4. My grandmother died in 2007. A probate case was opened in NM with the will.
  5. My grandmother’s will left everything to me and my brother brother and specifically left nothing to my father with wording in the will as such. The mineral rights were not known of at the time. The executor of the will never completed the case and it was not closed by the court.
  6. My father died in 2011 and was married at the time.
  7. In 2022, I started receiving offers to buy mineral rights. I began researching and gathering documentation in my spare time trying to piece everything together.
  8. Today, I found in county court records that my father’s wife filed an Affidavit of Heirship for both my grandmother and father claiming she was the heir to these mineral rights. Wills were not attached for either of them. She also incorrectly/fraudulently listed herself as our parent.
  9. She then sold the mineral rights to a company for $13k. Mineral deed recorded in county.
  10. The company then resold the mineral rights for a big profit. Mineral deed recorded in county.
  11. I was estranged from my father since age 6 and therefore don’t have interaction with his wife.

I am at a loss on how all of this happened without a title search, wills or even a search of probate court records in NM where my grandmother was a resident.

My question is how do we proceed? Where do I start? Do I contact the company/companies who bought the mineral rights? Do we probate in OK? Do I just need to get legal counsel from the start? What are our chances of recovering any money?

Thank you for any help!

Contact an estate lawyer ASAP. Also contact the operator and tell them you are making a claim to the minerals. You can put a simple affidavit of record that will cloud the title & that should stop payments to whoever is claiming them. Good luck.

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In some states if civil laws are broken, the time frame for filing a lawsuit is from the “point of discovery”! It seems that you have have done a lot of work (discovery) on this already and I assume that you have it documented also. I would start in New Mexico with the false probate with an attorney that handles oil and gas estates. This looks like a civil and criminal case. I would try and gain control of the mineral rights back. What state did your Father’s wife live in and where was her Affidavit’s filed? It seems too that if someone wanted to buy your mineral rights in 2022 that they think you own them rightfully. Can they supply you with any information. Good Luck to you and your brother.

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  1. New Mexico is not going to do anything regarding mineral rights in Oklahoma.
  2. There was no false probate in NM. The will was admitted to probate in NM. No fraud there. The fraud, if it exists, occurred with the false affidavit in Oklahoma.
  3. Agree with what Todd said. I wouldn’t let any grass grow under your feet on this.
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You can be sued for “clouding the title”!

Mineral Owner 5 that is funny.:smile:

Thanks everyone! We will seek out a OK lawyer. One further question. Please tell me which website I can use to confirm the operator for each well?

Thank you.

It’s better than being a “Know it All” like some of these guys just trying to solicit business!

https://public.occ.ok.gov/OGCDWellRecords/CustomSearch.aspx?SearchName=OilandGasWellRecordsSearch&dbid=0&repo=OCC&cr=1

You can search by location or by well name. The 1002A form is the completion. It will have the operator at time of completion. Also use the 1073 form for changes of operator after that time. It is cane be a few months behind, so patience is required.