What is this about a deed to mineral rights

I have asked this question previously, but never got an answer I could understand I guess. I am with power of attorney for my daughter, that inherited mineral interests (9 different ones in Chaves and Lea county New Mexico), some are leased and paying royalties even. These were passed down from her great great grandfather from back in the 1920s, thru 5 steps. I have gathered all the wills, probates etc, but still get the idea from this forum that there should be a deed for these minerals. I don’t think there ever has been a deed, and it would seem silly for her to make a deed. Simple question: Should there be a deed to these mineral interests and who should make one? All of the previous owners are deceased.

Perhaps one of the attorneys can speak to this. If the probate is crystal clear and she has legitimate title, there is probably no need for new deeds. The probates give the title path. Once upon a time, there was an original deed which should be filed in the Chaves and Lea County Courthouses.

You might find something way back at the BLM records which has digital files of the original patents which were the deeds granted by the federal government to the very first landowner. Search - BLM GLO Records . Always interesting to put them in your files.

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Wow thanks M Barnes! What a treasure trove of very old documents, i had no idea they had been digitized! This will be a great help in my search to finally find ALL the original patents for him, I am searching for them yet as well. So far I have just been pulling up patents from the 1800s just to entertain myself, proving that it don’t take much to entertain a very old guy!

Isn’t it fun!! I grew up in Hobbs, NM in Lea County. My dad was a geologist with Conoco, so I drove quite a few of those oil dusty roads with him when I was a kid. He would be so pleased at all the production now. Go Eagles!

I know the feeling. My wife (now deceased), her dad (in Albuquerque) had inherited the wells from his dad. When I would visit way back then (1960s), he would take me out to the wells to see who was stealing his oil. The wells were old shallow drilled in the 1920-1930 and were just petered out. In most cases, there would be a rig not even pumping and a tank with a little oil in it. I don’t think I ever convinced him that they were turned off because they were pumping air (I suppose they could stop on their own when no oil was present).

One in Hobbs (T18S R36E S10) seems to be in a residential section these days as much as I can see from Google Earth. Are you still in Hobbs?

Family squabbles and a lot of time later, I have been trying to work backwards to the time our ancestor put these wells in. I suspect that some may have been sold off illegally (my wife had turned into a vegetative state so they did a lot of crooked stuff for years. The link you gave should be a big help in being able to go back in time and see what he really had. Is it as complete and accurate as it seems?

Sent from Mail for Windows 10

No guarantee on the data, but it is a good starting point. The NM oil and gas site has some good links.



Hey Don I just inherited mineral rights in WV and when I asked about the deed they said there aren’t deeds for mineral rights. Basically when my father passed I signed an affidavit and put the rights in my name. From my understanding that is as good as the title or deed.

This is to, perhaps, clear up any misconceptions about this. There are three ways to transfer title to real property, which includes oil, gas and mineral rights. The first is by deed, wherein A sells or deeds the property to B. could be a sale, could be a gift. This would transfer the ownership from A to B. Just like when you buy or sell a house. The second way is by inheritance, when an ancestor dies, and the ownership of the house, land or oil & gas rights are transferred to the decedent’s spouse or children. so, if one inherits the property, there won’t be a deed. But, if you wanted to transfer the property to your children or a spouse, then a deed would be prepared.

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After some time on this forum, I have become in agreement with this. In my case the original owner of the mineral rights died, willed to his son, then willed to that sons children (my deceased wife) , who then died leaving the rights to my daughter. That was a lot of tracking down documents and wills and probate, as well as having to go to an “affidavit of heirship” to finally get the rights to my daughter. It has been an interesting trip, since I started out as dumb as a box of rocks. Needless to say, this forum has been a very valuable asset to me.

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Thank you Don so much for the input! This was my late fathers, and I went through the affidavit of heirship and was wondering if a deed would come in the mail or how that would work. Then I called and they explained to me that there wouldn’t be a deed, but not necessarily why there wouldn’t be. So now I have a mineral ID number that I was given by a company but no way to pin point where the minerals are exactly or if they’re leased

@tim_dowd thank you so much for the clarification on that! I was hoping I hadn’t done something wrong here. I’m completely new to mineral ownership. I have however been studying as much as I can since this has all happened.

Tim- Interesting that you stated 3 ways but only mentioned 2. The second of which is not acceptable in the State of Oklahoma. Just stating “I inherited this” doesn’t pass the title standards act. A probate is required. Some companies may accept Affidavits, but affidavits have no power to transfer any title. What is the 3rd way?

I am not sure of any of the laws of the state of WVa.

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I am not familiar with anything in Oklahoma re mineral rights, but your statement is puzzling. Can one actually go back 100 years and probate an estate that was not required to be probated back then? How about one that WAS probated but failed to mention the mineral rights, can it then be somehow amended or re opened? Maybe there are provisions, but it looks like an endless chase to me. These cannot always be too profitable either, I just got my daughters report of income from a gas well, total share for two months production was $.02. Don’t even pay for my services helping her, which was free! I am not just trying to be argumentative, but comments about the above would be enlightening to all.

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Agree as to the need for probate in Oklahoma. But, I was keeping it general for all states. Also, technically, the heirs own the interest the moment their ancestor dies, even if it is not marketable title. Real property must be owned 100% of the time by somebody.

The third way is judicial transfer. Typically, this comes by way of condemnation, wherein a court determines that the ownership is transferred to a governmental entity for valid purposes. Also, tax sales and sheriff’s sales under foreclosures fall into the category of judicial transfers. None of the above three examples are necessarily voluntary, and they aren’t as a result of inheritance.

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Yes, in fact multiple estates can be joined into one proceeding in Oklahoma.

Usually, an probate order will cover property discovered after the closing of the probate. This is generally done by an affidavit. If that is missing, it may be possible to reopen the probate.

Speaking generally of Oklahoma law here.

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I read most of the replies in this thread but not all. If someone already said this, then just ignore me.

Absolutely nothing below is legal advice, and you should consult a licensed attorney in the counties and state in which you and/or your daughter own interest for a definitive explanation on how to transfer ownership.

I’m a landman, not an attorney, but several of my bosses have been attorneys licensed in New Mexico and Texas. Here are the differences I remember (to the best of my ability) them telling me:

In Texas, a probated estate is enough to transfer title if it is recorded of record in the relevant counties, as well as an Affidavit of Heirship if the estate is not going to be probated. Executors of estates will also transfer title through deeds, but I they aren’t necessary. This is a very brief synopsis of how this works.

In New Mexico, it’s a bit different (according to the attorneys I’ve worked with). A probated estate is not enough to transfer title. A deed out of the estate executed by the executor(s) of the estate is necessary.

However, if the property was purchased by two or more people as joint tenants, not tenants in common, their estates don’t matter. Joint tenants share equally with rights of survivorship, so the title will transfer to the surviving tenant(s) equally upon each respective death of the other join tenant(s). The last surviving joint tenant is the only one who can transfer the property through their estate (I believe), which will then need to be deeded out of the estate to the heirs. This is why joint tenancy is so common in New Mexico. Avoids the mess and confusion of estates and deeds. How long these laws have been in place, I have no idea. It may be that they didn’t apply in the 1920s, so deeds from her great great grandfather don’t exist.

If the interests are valuable enough, or if an oil and gas company is giving you trouble due to no deeds existing and puts your accounts in suspense, you will want to speak to an attorney that can get your interest squared away. It may not hurt to make sure everything is kosher anyway, to avoid a potential hassle for your daughter down the road. Odds are, everything is fine, but I just wanted to throw this out there. If you ever start having trouble getting your money due to title issues, you’ll likely have a good understanding of why. If deeds exist, they should be filed of record in the county clerk’s office in each county where the decedent owned interest. I’m sure you’ve checked, but just wanted to clarify that as well. It also doesn’t hurt to check under the name of the decedent and the name of the executor(s) of the estate.

Hope this helps. Let me know if I there’s something that doesn’t make sense. I’d also be interested if there are any title attorneys on here that could verify what I said, or correct me if I got anything wrong.


Thank you for your detailed response. Apparently the quote above is incorrect, we are being paid royalties and there has NEVER been a mention of mineral rights in any will or probate nor has there ever been a deed for them, hence my earlier question. In the final transfer, there has not been a will NOR a probate, yet the companies were quite satisfied by an “Affidavit of Heirship” from my daughter, who was the sole heir to her mothers death. The constant talk of “deeds” is therefore confusing to me.

I am running into this issue while trying to re-finance my home. We did not run into it when we re-financed our home awhile back or when we originally purchased the home. The bank wants some sort of proof of ownership (my royalty interests are inherited as well- in Louisiana from my great great grandfather). I have not been able to come up with anything other than a document that showed the turnover of interests when my mother died 6 years ago.

What the bank is really looking for is confirmation that the income from the leases will continue the same for the next 3 years - which Hilcorp (managing the wells) will not provide.

Has anyone had any experience with this and produced a document the bank would accept?

Thank you.

Can’t answer as to paperwork, but in general, revenue declines over time due to the natural decline in production of the reservoirs over time-given a stable price. Of course, that can depend upon prices as well. You could see an increase in revenue if the production decline is offset by a rather large increase in price or vice versa. Or if Hilcorp drills more wells, the revenue may increase.

If you have the check stubs from the last six years, then you could put together a spreadsheet that shows the revenue over time. You would also want to track the actual production to see if the oil and gas production is decreasing or increasing.

Thank you. That’s helpful information.