Spouse just passed, now I have division order

My spouse passed in April. I am his executor and heir. I received a division order in the mail this week. The will has not been probated.Do I notify the oil company? Do I ignore them? The court house is closed as far as I know. I have no idea of what is supposed to be done. I assume the interest is small, as are most of the interests he owned all over the U.S. (I think he used the term, “override”. It’s generally not worth hiring a professional (his oil income last year was less than $600.00). I’m lost. What am I supposed to do?

Dear Bkay: welcome to the forum!

You don’t say where these interests are located. If they are in Texas, you may want to contact the oil company to ask them what they require to transfer these interests to the heir(s). Some oil companies require a probated will and a deed from the executor of the estate to the heirs. Others will accept a copy of the will filed in the county where the interests are located. Others will allow an affidavit of heirship, and some will have a form you can use. The affidavit of heirship must also be filed in the county where the interests are located. Even though many courthouses are closed to public traffic, the county clerks still have procedures in place to allow filing of documents. Call the county clerk where these interests are located to find out their specific procedure.

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You need to hire a probate attorney to review will to determine to whom the mineral properties would pass if the will is probated. A will has no legal effect unless probated. In Texas, the person in possession of will has a duty to deposit it with county clerk of county in which the decedent resided unless he or she is filing for probate. Depending on family situation and whether minerals are separate or community property, you may not be sole heir at law if will is not probated. Your probate attorney can advise you of your options.

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The minerals are in Reagan county. Yes, there is a will. I am the sole heir. The death was less than a month ago. With the COVID thing, I was waiting until the courts open to do anything.

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