Q: I have oil royalties in CO. New company is requiring a Determination of Heirship for my great grandmother. Can I apply?
Great Grandmother had five children. One son had property in Ohio and Colorado. The families oil royalties come from him in Colorado, however, he provided a portion to her in her lifetime. The family line of inheritance is down the five family lines. I inherited from two aunts, my father's sisters. He gave his portion to his second wife. Great Grandma died in 1960. The coal was mined first, don't know what year. Oil was drilled in 1975. No problem with any oil company until now. I did have to give previous company copies of will from both aunts who was supposed to file in Colorado and didn't. I am getting certified copies to send to Colorado since I know where to send them now. I receive royalties through line of grandmother,( grandfather deceased), then through two aunts. All one line. I shouldn't need anything but determination of heirship for great grandmother. Can I submit to court determination of heirship? If a cousin gets determination for her will it apply to all of family?
A: If the determination of heirship describes your line, it will suffice regardless of who initiates the proceedings, provided it is properly done. Sometimes, depending on the value of the interest, oil companies will take affidavits rather than proceedings to determine heirs. Concerning your statement about the prior oil company not filing a will, it is your responsibility to keep the title up to date, not the oil companies. Your description reveals the issue of mineral interests being held within a family for generations. At some point, the interest held by each family member is not worth the legal effort it takes to clean up the title. What happens then is the monies are put in suspense accounts and eventually turned over to the State. While the sum of the interests may be valuable, the chopped-up pieces become worthless. Good luck!
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