“What Happens To Mineral Rights When Someone Dies?” And Other Mineral Rights & Probate Questions.
Whether you are looking for divestment options for an estate with oil and gas royalties or you need an appraised value for a mineral interest, Legacy Royalties will help. Legacy has worked with attorneys and CPAs for over two decades now, lending our expertise to help settle oil and gas estates.
Not sure what your next step is toward settling an estate with oil and gas assets? We may have the answer. The process of selling oil and gas royalties out of an estate can be different from state to state. We know the probate laws and title transfer requirements in most states and we are happy to share from our years of experience working with trusts and estates.
Call us today to discuss title transfer, royalty valuation, oil and gas royalty divestment options to get you moving in the right direction.
Oil And Gas Estate & Probate FAQ
How to value mineral rights for estate?
The value of mineral rights depends on a number of factors.
- Type of mineral
- Market conditions
- Mineral location
- Lease terms
- And more
What happens to mineral rights when someone dies?
1. Determine Who Owns The Mineral Rights
The ownership of the mineral rights is determined by the deceased person’s will. Or by state laws of descent and distribution if there was no will. In this case, the mineral rights will usually go to the person’s legal heir.
2. Get A Court Order For Transfer
If the mineral rights are part of an estate that’s being probated, a court order for the transfer of the mineral rights is usually needed. This means a petition and court hearing are necessary to determine the ownership.
3. Create A Transfer Agreement
Once ownership is determined, the parties involved in the transfer must create a transfer agreement. The terms of the transfer should be outlined clearly. This will include ownership, rights, responsibilities, and specific conditions.
4. Record The Transfer
The transfer must be recorded by the state agency that regulates oil and gas. This would be the Texas Railroad Commission.
5. Pay Any Fees
Check with the Texas Railroad Commission to see if there are any fees that will need to be paid.
What mineral rights transfer when the property is sold?
This depends on the terms of the sale. It must be specified in the sale agreement if the mineral rights are included with the property sale or not.
What happens to royalties after death?
What happens to the royalties depends on the terms of the mineral rights agreement. A few possibilities are:
- Transfer of royalties to a beneficiary
- Transfer of royalties according to state law
- Termination of royalties
How to transfer mineral rights in Texas?
1. Review The Current Title
Review the current title before transferring the mineral rights.
2. Negotiate And Execute A Transfer Agreement
An agreement should be outlined in the terms of transfer. This covers the transfer of ownership, the rights and responsibilities of all parties, and any special conditions.
3. Record The Transfer
The Texas Railroad Commission must record the transfer once it’s been executed. Usually, this can take place through the Commission’s website.
4. Pay Any Fees
Sometimes there are fees such as filing fees or taxes. Check with the Texas Railroad Commission to see if there are any that apply to your case.
OIL AND GAS ESTATE & PROBATE TERMINOLOGY
Below are definitions of estate and probate terminology commonly seen when dealing with oil and gas royalties in estates:
- Administrator: The person named in decedent’s will to administer the estate who accepts the appointment by qualifying before the clerk. Also called executor, executrix or personal representative.
- Affidavit of Heirship: A statement of facts relating to the death and heirship of the decedent which is sworn to before a notary public. Usually executed by someone who knew the decedent but is not an heir to the estate.
- Ancillary Probate: The additional probate required to legally transfer title when the oil royalties are not located in the same state as the decedent. For example, the decedent’s estate was probated in New York (the decedent’s state of residence) but the oil royalties are located in Oklahoma.
- Attorney in Fact: A document authorizing one person (“agent”) to act on behalf of another person (“principal”). Also called “Power of Attorney.”
- Beneficiary: Person receiving assets of an estate under the terms of the will.
- Certified Copy: A copy of a document that is signed and certified as a true copy by the officer to whose custody the original is entrusted.
- Decedent: Deceased person.
- Estate: The decedent’s property at the time of his death.
- Executor: The person named in decedent’s will to administer the estate who accepts the appointment by qualifying before the clerk. Also called executrix, administrator or personal representative.
- Executrix: A female executor. Also called administrator or personal representative.
- Fiduciary: A person in a position of trust with respect to another’s property. A term used to refer to the executor or administrator.
- Final Decree: A court ruling detailing the distribution of assets of an estate.
- Foreign Will: When the decedent owned an asset in one state but the decedent’s will was probated in another state (i.e. the decedent owned oil royalties in Texas but his will was probated in Florida).
- Heir: Person receiving assets of an estate under the terms of the will.
- Heirs at Law: Persons who would inherit the decedent’s estate if the decedent died intestate, or without a will.
- Intestate Estate: An estate to be administered without a will.
- Inventory: Detailed list of real and personal property in an estate.
- Letters Testamentary: A written decree of the court whereby the executor is named.
- Personal Representative: The person named in decedent’s will to administer the estate who accepts the appointment by qualifying before the clerk. Also called administrator or executor.
- Power of Attorney: A document authorizing one person (“agent”) to act on behalf of another person (“principal”). Also called “Attorney-in-Fact.”
- Probate: The legal process in which a court oversees the distribution of property left in a will. The procedure whereby a will is admitted of record in the clerk’s office, including the process of qualifying a person as an executor of an estate and the process of administering an estate.
- Testator: One who dies leaving a will.
- Testate Estate: An estate to be administered pursuant to a will.
- Will: An individual’s written declaration of property disposal after death.
OIL AND GAS DEEDS
Listed below are descriptions of different oil and gas deeds as well as some samples:
- Joint Tenant Deed: Transfers undivided co-ownership to two or more people whereby, upon death of the first owner, his share automatically transfers in equal shares to remaining owner(s).
- Life Estate Deed: Transfers the grantee the right to receive revenues generated from oil and gas production and lease bonuses as long as the grantee is alive. Once the grantee dies, the rights to receive revenue reverts back to the grantor. Commonly used when an owner wants to transfer their oil assets out of their estate but want to continue to receive the revenues generated from oil royalties during their lifetime.
- Mineral Deed: Transfers ownership of the royalty interest including the right to execute leases and receive bonus payments.
- Quit Claim Deed: Also called quitclaim deed, quickclaim deed and quick claim deed. Transfers any mineral, royalty or overriding royalty owned with no warranty of title.
- Royalty Deed: Transfers ownership of the royalty interest only and not the right to execute leases and receive bonus payments.