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Oil and mineral rights regarding probate

On Behalf of | Aug 23, 2023 | Probate

Asset issues can be complex when administering an Oklahoma estate. This is especially true when the assets in question are oil and mineral rights. In probate, such assets do not receive the same treatment as stocks, bonds or other investments, but rather involve true real estate/land/property.

If you own oil or mineral rights, it’s highly unlikely that you own the entire piece of property where the assets are located. In fact, you might own a fraction of the property. This means that if you wanted to sell or lease your portion, the other owners must approve the terms of the agreement.

Acquiring oil and mineral rights through an inheritance

If you are a beneficiary to someone’s estate that includes oil and mineral rights as an inheritance, you’ll want to make sure you have experienced guidance as you navigate the probate process. It must be determined that the estate owner was free to transfer ownership of the assets in question. If someone challenges that fact, you might face an intense legal battle.

Estate planning tools that make probate less stressful for oil and mineral rights

If you’re preparing an estate plan that includes the inheritance of oil and mineral rights, you’ll want to explore options that can help make the probate process less complex and stressful for your beneficiaries. For example, you might consider creating a trust to hold such assets. Many Oklahoma estate owners also use a transfer-upon-death deed to transfer ownership of oil and mineral rights to a specific beneficiary.

Be aware that a transfer upon death deed becomes invalid if the chosen beneficiary dies before you do. If you fail to update the deed, the assets contained therein will pass to the probate court when you die.

Assessing the value of oil and mineral rights can be difficult

If you own oil and mineral rights in Oklahoma or expect to inherit such assets, you’ll want to learn more about the valuation process. It is not the same as selling other real estate, such as an empty lot or a house. In such cases, it is relatively easy to determine the value of such property, using comparative sales analysis and other resources. However, determining the value of oil and mineral rights is difficult.

Even after a value is determined, oil and mineral rights are not for sale through a common marketplace like other real estate. In other words, agents can’t access the MLS and find a listing of oil and mineral rights for sale. Any or all of these issues may be relevant if you own oil and mineral assets or have been listed as a beneficiary in someone’s estate. Seeking guidance and support from someone experienced in this aspect of probate is a wise decision.