Value of ancillary probate

my father passed away in 2013 as his only heir, I didn’t probate his estate. He inherited fractional interest in appx. 16 properties in Williams County. In the past he was paid royalties usually less than $ 100. yearly. Hess has suspended payment on his account and has sent me the descriptions of his interest and his royalty %.

I am trying to weigh the value of opening probate in california and ancillary probate in north dakota against just letting the royalties escheat to the state.

any input would be appreciated.

1 Like

I’m a little confused. If the minerals are in North Dakota, you might not need to complete a probate in California. Visit with a ND attorney for your options.

Parts of Williams County have been quite prolific since 2013, so his royalties “back then” may be different than today. He may also have lands that were not in production at death, but may be now. Hess may not be your only operator.

Go to :https://www.dmr.nd.gov/oilgas/ and type in your section, township and range and look on the maps to find out if you have more wells than you know about. It is free to look on the site. Also, check the unclaimed funds in the state treasurer’s office, Delaware and maybe Texas and OK (just in case he had other holdings or the operators are domiciled in those states).

Use that website and read up on the state activity. You can learn a lot and figure out a bit more before making a decision. You may want those minerals!

If no will is involved and minerals are in ND, you need a probate procedure in that estate si talk to ND probate attorney,

You should also check the State of your fathers residence for possible escheated funds. Since you mentioned CA I assume that may be the case.

you say Delaware how do you look up that site

Many companies have their domicile in Delaware (where they are incorporated), so I aways look in Delaware just in case. Rarely find anything, but sometimes get lucky.

If the box link above gets frozen, just type in the link in your browser. It is always best to look in the state where your ancestor lived, the state where the minerals are located and the state where the operator has their domicile (just in case they escheate the funds to a different place. And also look for the various ways they could misspell a name.

1 Like

For background, Williams County is one of the top three producing ND Counties and it may be the best. That is not to say all of the holdings are or have produced but it is one of the best possible locations. Oil is the primary production and there can be associated gas.

You also need to research each legal description for production and determine who the well operator might be. The newer horizontal production units can vary from a single complete section to four sections. Therefore even through your holding my sit in an adjacent section the land may be included in one of these units.

Additionally, since your father passed away seven years ago the various possible operating companies may have attempted to contact him with no success. There could be other royalties in suspense due to an un-locatable owner.

We are going this currently. Yes you would have to probate the estate. Each state is different. And…yes you want to do it. These old wells have new life with Fracking and it’ll be worth your time and money to do it. Hire an attorney in ND to do the probate for you. I’m sure its a process similar to ours and they’ll run an advert in the local paper for a few weeks or months (to allow someone with a legitimate claim to the estate to petition) and then the probate papers. That’s it.

1 Like