Q: Oil rights
My uncle died in Oklahoma several years ago, never married, had no children, left no will, and had oil rights. His brother, my father, is also deceased and left 4 children (I'm the oldest). How much would it cost to settle this estate? Marathon Oil (Houston, TX) has this account and indicated that we would need to find a lawyer in Oklahoma to acquire: Order Admitting Will to Probate & Recorded copy of the Final Decree/Final Order. Since our money is limited is this process worth pursuing?
A: The answer depends on many factors, but it sounds like you are probably looking at a joint probate of two estates if you want to legally transfer the minerals from your uncle to your father's children. That being said, bear in mind that if there are liquid assets in the estate (like royalty payments held in escrow at Marathon Oil), there's often no up front cost to you. The attorney's fees can be paid out of the estate at the end of probate. Many probate attorneys, like myself, are happy to provide a free consultation to discuss the specifics of your situation and then quote you a flat rate to handle everything.
A: Most often this could be handled on a flat fee basis. Two or more probates can be combined into a since case. Most attorneys will quote you a rate over the telephone but are reluctant to provide online quotes.
A: Forgot to add. It rare that a client would need to travel to Oklahoma or to a court to complete a probate.
A: These can be done for a flat fee or an hourly basis. The costs depend on a variety of factors. Some estates qualify for expedited procedures that are cheaper. It is always good place to start if you can find out from the oil company the size of the interest (how many net mineral acres are involved) and how much money is in suspense. That will give you an idea if it is worth pursuing. You should also obtain a copy of the title requirement and legal description of the property from the oil company. If all the heirs are findable, responsive, cooperate and get along, the actions can run pretty quickly and cheaply. If not, the time and costs go up. It is best to consult with an attorney so he can understand all of the facts and give you a price range.
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