Transfer of Mineral Rights Ownership Due to Death

A mineral rights leasing company has money that was payable to my Aunt. It’s being held in suspense because obviously, they know that she passed away. The property was not included in my Aunt’s will and there has been no probate proceedings initiated. She appointed a non-relative to handle her estate/affairs. The leasing company asked for the will and death certificate–they have both; but are now insisting on having probate proceedings initiated. This is out of my brother and my control because this non-relative has everything related to my Aunt’s estate. Also, probate costs money and there was/is no need to pursue this action. My brother and I are the only surviving relatives and would like to keep property in the family. The leasing company advised me that the amount of money they are holding in suspense is $80 which is a pittance.

Susan: Sorry for your headaches. Laws vary by state. In Oklahoma, where I practice, a probate action is typically needed to transfer property if titled in the decedent.

In most states, your mother’s nomination of someone to be executor will not prevent you from filing a probate action and acting as the executor. This is especially true if the person nominated has failed to do so.

If this is in Texas you may have other options such as an affidavit of heirship. If royalties are very small, some companies will accept an affidavit of heirship in Oklahoma.

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