Transfer of Mineral Ownership

Could someone tell me what papers I need to provide the county clerk in order to record the change of mineral ownership from my deceased mother to me and my sister? Is it necessary to have a lawyer do it, or can I go to the court house myself? The property is in Texas (and we live in Texas).

A little more information might be needed. Did your mother have a will? Was it probated? Was it probated in the same county as where the minerals are located? If she died without a will, the minerals would pass according to the Texas statutes of descent and distribution. If she died without a will, you should file an Affidavit of Heirship in the county where the minerals are located. If she had a will probated in a different county than where the minerals are located, you should obtain a certified copy of the probate proceedings, and file them in the county where the minerals are situated. If your mother had a will, and it was probated in the same county where the minerals are located, and you and your sister are the beneficiaries under the will of your mother, then you do not have to do anything else.

Thank you! When my father died, the mineral rights were placed in a trust with my mother as trustee. Upon her death, they were to be transferred to me and my sister, according to my dad’s will. When mom got too old to take care of things, she resigned as trustee, making me and my sister co-trustees. Mom died about a year and a half ago, and I’m the sole Executor of her estate, which was probated in Travis County.
The mineral rights are in a few counties in north Texas and I was planning on going to each county clerk’s office.
I have the signed and notarized resignation of trustee for the trust. I have probate papers and Mom’s will and death certificate. I don’t think I need a lawyer to do this for me, but I’d hate to make the trek up there and not be able to get this taken care of.

I think what I would do, if the will names you and your sister as beneficiaries of the north Texas minerals, would be to get a certified copy of the probate proceedings from Travis County, and file it in each north Texas county where your mother owned mineral rights. You want to give public notice of something that puts title into you and your sister. Don't take the death certificate. Certified copies of the probate should suffice. The county clerks of the North Texas Counties will take them from you for filing if they are certified copies from Travis County, and you have the filing fees. You could call in advance and it is usually X amount for the first page, and so much per page thereafter. As far as the trust instruments, I don't know. It's probably up to you. Not having read anything, I would think the issue might be how much those were incorporated or referenced in the probate. If they weren't, I personally would just obtain as many certified copies of the probate proceedings from Travis County as would be needed for filing in north Texas. If by a few, you mean two or three, get two or three certified copies of the probate from Travis County, or one certified copy for each north Texas county where she owned minerals.

You can also do it all by mail. You don't have to drive to each county.

Thank you so much, Mark!

This is good to know. My folks had a transfer of title upon death for surface/mineral rights in Oklahoma which I had a lawyer in that county execute upon their death. I live in Texas and wills were probated in Texas. Should I also file copies of Letters of Testamentary in the county where the land is located?

If the minerals were placed in trust when your father died, then you have to consider if the minerals were community property. If community property, then Dad owned 1/2 and your mom 1/2. For Mom's 1/2, you should follow Mark's friendly suggestions below, because Mom's will and probate in Travis County controlled the transfer of the minerals. For Dad's 1/2 community property, his Will transferred them to trust. I would record the certified copies of Dad's probate (order admitting Will to probate and certified Will) in each county where the minerals are located, if this step was not done already (when you say "placed in trust," I don't know if you mean the Will said put them in trust or if you actually put into the deed records of the several counties where the minerals are located the copies of Dad's probate proceedings). Second, I would then prepare mineral deeds transferring the interests from the trust to you and your sister.

What you have to know about real estate law (including oil and gas) is that the title to land and minerals "vest" in the beneficiaries when the testator dies, but subject to the administration of the estate (technically, that is probate law). However, it is advisable to put documents into the records to show the public the transfer of title. I have had a client whose prior probate lawyer did not put finish the probate of the first ancestor to die (a grandparent), then sign a mineral lease, and not get paid lease bonus on the prior ancestor's minerals he should have inherited, because nothing was in the records to show transfer from grandfather's estate to trust and then to client (a poorly drafted Will did not help either).

If "all" the minerals were separate property (or all the minerals) were owned by Dad alone and then should be owned by this trust, then I would take the same steps above as if the minerals were owned 1/2 by Dad as community property.