Transfer of ownership without a will

My mother passed in 2020. She did not have a will as her death was unexpected. She has mineral rights in Dewey county that I need to transfer into my name. How do I go about doing so?
An uncle that has rights to the same well says to just go into Dewey county and do so. However, I simply do think it can be that easy. I would like to think so and I hope so… Anyone know exactly how I should go about this? I live in Washington state, so I just want to have my ducks in a row and handle this in one visit if possible. Thank you!

I am not an attorney and know very little about this business, however I had to bring my current owner up to date thru TWO deaths without a will. This was done in New Mexico and was really very easy.

So what exactly do I need to do?

What state is Dewey County? Looks like there is a Dewey County in Oklahoma and in South Dakota. Each state has their own set of legal requirements to transfer mineral interest. What was done in one state may not be sufficient in another state.

Sorry… it’s in Oklahoma.

In Oklahoma, you have two options when someone passes away owning mineral interest. One option is to probate your mother’s estate in Oklahoma. The other option is to execute an Affidavit of Death and Heirship, however there are limitations to the Affidavit. An Affidavit of Death and Heirship does not create marketable title unless it has been filed for 10 years and only if the statute has been strictly followed. Some operators may be willing to rely upon an Affidavit of Heirship before the 10 years, but that is usually dependent on the operator, amount of production, and how many acres you own, etc. Which route you take also depends on what you want to do with the mineral interest. For example if you want to sell the mineral interest, most buyers would require a probate.

I would not advise showing up at the county expecting them to tell you what to do. Most will not give you any legal advice and those that do may inadvertently tell you something that may not meet your end goal.

2 Likes

The ultimate goal is just to transfer ownership to my name or my son’s as it would be left to him anyway. I have no plans to sell. I don’t believe it is a profitable well, but I honestly don’t know that much about it. It was my grandfather’s, passed to my mother, and now me. So I honestly don’t know. I never asked about.

She passed in Texas… so do I need to file in Texas or Oklahoma? The lease is in Oklahoma… I apologize for asking so many questions. I never thought I would need to deal with this. So I’m just at a loss. I’ve reached out to a couple of attorneys and have not received a call or even an email back. So I don’t even know if this is something I can do from Washington or if I need to be in Oklahoma/Texas to do so. I’ve read many probate websites, and I get more confused each time I do.

I know I am probably making this more complicated than it actually is. I’m notorious for that. I over think and over complicate. I sure wish I didn’t!

Each state has jurisdiction over the land in their own state. Texas courts have no jurisdiction to determine ownership or distribution of real estate in Oklahoma. In short, it must be filed in Dewey County, Ok.

You would file in Dewey County Oklahoma based upon what you stated thus far. You can do this without having to travel to Oklahoma. A summary probate usually takes about 60-75 days from date of filing.

This post is not legal, investment or tax advice, it is for discussion purposes only. Reading or responding to this post does not create an attorney-client relationship.