Need a Probate Attorney’s advice and opinion specializing in oil and gas leases.
A married couple was gifted a long time family farm of 107 acres. The husband passed away testate, with a will in which the wife is executor. This 107 acres was then deeded solely to the wife after Will was probated. The wife signed a couple of oil & gas lease’s for exploration. Fast forward 20 years. Wife is now 85 years old and a man buying up all of the land in the area wrote a contract to purchase her land (which was not for sale and HEAVY oil & gas exploration and production). The contract was signed and the man purchased the property. The mans attorney had the general warranty deed prepared, severing the mineral rights in this warranty deed (not a separate mineral deed), stating that she would keep the royalties and mineral rights for her lifetime, and would transfer upon her death.
At this time, royalties have been rolling in. Several leases have been producing oil and approximately 6-8 wells on the property are producing and paying royalties. A family member became the guardian (she had no children) and was named executor in the Will and she was taken care of in their home for 7 years. Guardian was In charge of her finances, royalties, everything.
Fast forward. Th age of nearly 100, wife has passed. Will was probated, death cert filed in county of property and with all oil & gas companies.
Does the current oil & gas lease stay with her heirs (executor of her will) or does the lease transfer to the man that purchased the land from her?
If the royalties are still being received after death, does that mean that specific lease stayed with the heirs? The lease that was signed stated verbiage to survive death of lessor and for heirs and successors and assigns to forever receive royalties until lease is terminated. And the contract/general warranty deed states that the mineral rights be conveyed at death. Which one supersedes the other?