Q: How to transfer a gifted oil royalty from a deceased person with no will.
My sisters, my brother, and myself were given a part of an oil royalty owned by our mother. My brother died in April of this year with no will. He was married and had adopted his wife's son. They did not have a good relationship, and her son has been estranged from them for several years until the last year or so. My brother had contacted the production company about transferring his royalty to my sisters and myself but did not get the paperwork completed before dying. He left instructions for his wife to transfer the royalty to us and she wants to complete his wishes, but her son, who does not work, wants to keep his part of it, which I understand will be 2/3 of the total of that part of the royalty. Since I believe the royalty to be legally separate property, can our mother contact the production company and have the royalty transferred back to her?
A: You need to consult a lawyer on this. It seems to be a very complex situation. Having said that, it appears that the estate needs to be probated, even though there is not a will. This is called "intestate succession". The laws of Texas will govern how the property is to be distributed, and it is different for community property than separate property. Once you go through this process, someone will be able to properly pass the property on under the law. Then you can show the oil company and they should pay accordingly.
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