Estate planning is essential to the timely and less stressful administration of a decedent’s estate. For decedents in Oklahoma who owned oil, gas, or mineral rights, prior planning is especially recommended. These matters can quickly become a complicated situation if preparation was not made for the transfer of those rights prior to death.
A great recommendation for the administration of these rights is for them to be placed into a living trust. This can be done in one of two ways, depending on the type of rights owned.
If the real estate containing the gas, oil and mineral deposits is owned by the decedent as well, then the property can simply be deeded into the name of a trust. A new deed transferring ownership would simply need to be drafted, executed and recorded with the probate clerk.
If the decedent only owned rights to gas, oil and mineral deposits, but did not own the land from which those deposits were produced, the matter becomes a bit more complicated. In this case, the owner would need to contact the person or entity who owns the land, and inquire as to their process for transferring rights for deposits or royalties into the trust. This reassignment of rights would need to be recorded with the land record office in the proper county.
An estate planning attorney can help complete this process smoothly. Typically, the creation of trusts and any transaction regarding gas, oil or mineral rights includes a lot of legal jargon. Consulting with an estate planning attorney will allow the assurance that a family completely understands the intention and outcome of these transactions.
Source: The Balance, “How to Fund Oil, Gas or Mineral Rights into a Trust,” Julie Garber, Sept. 11, 2017