Q: My deceased Father had a 1/3rd share in a mineral rights lease which was probated. The oil company won't honor lease
Who signs a lease when the owner is dead or can't be located? Does the oil company have to give the same lease to my Dads' heirs?
If the lease is still valid, either because it is in its primary term or has been extended into its secondary term due to production on it, then the lease is still good and the company (and your dad's heirs) must honor it. However, in such a situation, the oil company can escrow any royalties due your dad until his heirs have been properly established via probate or other title curative means.
If the lease has expired and the oil company wants to buy a new one, they will have to buy it from your dad's heirs. If they can't identify/locate them or can't work a deal with them, they can "force pool" them in Oklahoma, which is essentially the process by which the oil and gas regulatory body in Oklahoma (called the Oklahoma Corporation Commission) declares your dad's estate/heirs leased to the oil company that wants to drill a well. In such a situation, no actual lease is signed. The OCC's Pooling Order acts as the lease.
First of all sorry for your loss.
Your father's estate must be probated in Oklahoma even if it has already been probated in another state like Arizona. This is commonly referred to as an ancillary probate. These are fairly simple to handle. In the vast majority of cases there is no need to travel to Oklahoma. If you are being told that the the minerals are in suspense, then this is the likely issue.
Most attorneys handle such probates on a flat fee basis.
Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.
The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.
Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.