You may be aware that you have inherited mineral or royalty interests but are not sure what to do next to get the interest in your name. If a family member has died owning mineral or royalty interests, we can help you get the interest in your name and set up to receive checks if the interest is producing. We will also help you get any money that was put in suspense or turned over to the State of Texas.
You may not even know you own minerals in the area until it becomes productive or you’re contacted by a landman or mineral buyer. The minerals may have been passed down through inheritance or were reserved when the original landowners left the area decades ago. In many cases, we’ve found that there has already been a well drilled on the property, and the current well operators owe our clients money.
In one case, we found mineral ownership in seven sections of land (a section of land is a square mile or 640 acres) that two brothers had inherited from their great-great grandparents, who were the first settlers on that land back in the late eighteen hundreds. Their great-great grandfather, and his wife, had risked everything to travel to the harsh and unforgiving Permian Basin by covered wagon to farm the land and start a new life.
They deserve to reap the reward of their great-great grandparents’ hard work and sacrifice. We helped them make that happen by doing the title research to determine their ownership, preparing and filing the appropriate documentation with the local county clerks, and notifying the well operators of the heirs to the original mineral interests.
In determining precisely what lands you own, we will also utilize the public records available at the Texas Railroad Commission to determine what kind of well production is nearby, whether a well has been permitted on your minerals, or even if a well has been drilled and is producing, but you aren’t getting paid for it.
We’ve seen numerous times that a well has been drilled and is producing, but a mineral owner is not getting paid due to problems with record title.
In many cases, one of the mineral owner’s ancestors acquired the interest, then moved away from the area. As that ancestor grew old and later died, they didn’t consider in their estate planning that even though they wrote a will and had it probated, it wasn’t probated in the county where the interest is located. Additionally, if the land was not productive when the ancestor died, the ancestor and their heirs often don’t even know the mineral interest exists. There’s no evidence in the county that the minerals are located that the ownership has passed on to that person’s heir. There isn’t even any evidence that the original owner has died. For all intents and purposes, that person is just missing and can’t be located.
In these cases, the oil company that drilled a well has no way of knowing (and no obligation to find out) that the original mineral owner is now deceased and their heirs are entitled to the interest.
When this happens, the oil company places the money in “suspense” for a period of time until it escheats to the state (you can search for money escheated to the State of Texas here: https://claimittexas.org/). It’s the mineral owner’s obligation to notify the oil well operator of the change in ownership from the original mineral owner to his/her heirs.
Before you call or email, it would be helpful if you have the following information handy:
- How you might have received the interest (parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, etc.)
- The legal description of the property (for example, Section 1, Block 35, T-4-S, T&P RR Co., Martin County, Texas)
- Did the person die with a will or without a will? If they had a will, has it been probated?
If you don’t have all of the above information available to you, that’s okay, we can work with you to get it sorted out.Ariane Doggett President/Landman Cell: (713) 425-9486 firstname.lastname@example.org