The Roles are Flipped, You Need Information:

When you were young your parents found ways to protect and provide for you.  As your parents age they increasingly need your care.  You need answers including legal realities.  This article and the audio content describes the type of information you need to receive.  It also provides practical tips to create open communication.

Dynamics of Communicating with the “Silent Generation”

People born before 1946 are known as the “Silent Generation”.  Their world was shaped by the Great Depression, WWII, The Cold War and the Civil Rights Movement.  They are often described as less open with personal issues including health and finances.  They value simple concepts and rarely view themselves of wealthy regardless of their net worth.  “Waste not want not” means much to them. 

      Listen Here - Nicole Wipp
      015 The 5 Things Adult Children Of Aging Parents Need To Know NOW (Part 1) With Audrey Earhart - ElderCounsel - Nicole Wipp


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In Oklahoma mineral such as Oil and Gas are considered real estate.  Often individuals would sell the surface rights to their property but keep the mineral rights.  They did so because they realized that someday those property interests may become valuable.  Sometimes, many generations later oil and gas development occurs, and the decedents need to prove up their inheritance through probate to get paid. Probate is a way to get the royalties paid to you.

What exactly is Probate?

Probate is a legal process where a court determines that someone is deceased and who will receive his or her property after it is administered.

Is Probate Difficult?

A probate case can be very simple with the right attorney.  Basically, the client provides information about the person who died, who survived him or her, what property they owned and whether there were any creditors.  The attorney prepares the paperwork for the client to review and sign.

Do I have to Appear in Probate Court?

No, except in rare cases.  Often the client can receive and return various items by mail.  The attorney can handle any appearances.  The exception would be if the case becomes contested.

What if my Relative Didn’t Have a Will?

A probate case can be handled if the person did or did not have a Will.  If there was no Will, the distributions are determined by Oklahoma intestacy statutes.

How Long Does a Probate Take to Complete?

Often a “summary probate procedure” can be used.  This is available if any of the following apply: The person didn’t live in Oklahoma at the time of death; or The person has been dead more than 5 years; or The estate is valued at $200,000 or less.

In these cases, the time-frame is usually 60-80 days depending upon the availability of the court.  Otherwise, a standard probate may be required which can take six or more months to complete.

What if the Estate has been Probated in Another State?  What is an Ancillary Probate?

If the mineral rights are in Oklahoma, another state’s court does not have authority (jurisdiction) to transfer them.  Therefore, and Oklahoma probate is required, even if, there was a probate in another state.  Often an Ancillary Probate procedure can be used which shortens the timeline to about 50 days.  Procedure is available if the home state probate case is concluded and certain orders were filed there.[1]

How Much Does a Probate Cost?

Most mineral probate cases qualify for a flat rate of $3,400 which includes court costs, publication fees, mailing copying and attorney’s fees.  If there are multiple counties where minerals are located, there are additional recording fees of about $30 per county.

I Filed an Affidavit of Heirship, why do I Need a Probate?

In Oklahoma an Affidavit of Heirship can create title in the heirs.  However, there are many requirements, the biggest stumbling block  but only after it has been recorded at least ten years with the County Clerk were the minerals are located and during that 10-year period not instrument inconsistent with affidavit has been filed of record.  Therefore, few companies paying royalties are willing to rely upon an Affidavit of Heirship unless 10 years have passed.

What does Royalty Payments in Suspense or Payments on Hold Mean?

This means that the royalties or other payments have been calculated and set aside until the title of the person entitled to receive them has been established.  Often this means a probate.  A company may use a Division Order Analyst who determines what “title requirements” are needed to put royalties into “pay status”. 

My or My Relative’s Funds are held by the Oklahoma Treasurer’s Unclaimed Property Division or listed in the Mineral Owners Escrow Account.  How do I claim these?

Oklahoma State Treasurer’s Office/Unclaimed Property (405) 521-4275 or online www.ok.gov/treasurer/Unclaimed_Property/index.html.

They will inform you if a probate or an affidavit is sufficient to claim the funds.

What if I have more than one Estates, can they be joined in a single joint administration case?

Sometimes there is a need to take care of two or more estates in order to get minerals into the name of the rightful heirs.  While this may seem like a daunting task, it can often be accomplished in one case.  For example, if grandfather owned mineral and died, then his daughter died.  Neither had a probate done for their estates.  Oklahoma law allows multiple estates to be administered in one case.    

In this case the living grandchildren would inherit through their line.

What are the Advantages of Jointly Administered Probate Cases?

  • Court Costs:  The filing fee for a single or joint probate case is the same.
  • Publication Costs:  Probate cases require publication.  A joint probate is about ½ the cost of filing two separate probate cases.

[1] The requirement would be order admitting the will to probate and an order distributing the estate from the home state probate proceeding, or if the decedent died intestate, by attaching a duly certified copy of the order appointing the personal representative and an order distributing estate from the home state probate estate.  58 O.S. § 677.

Estate Planning Essentials:

Estate Plan:

An estate plan must be coordinated to provided desired protection and results.

Formal written instructions for your family, doctors, and others regarding your:




It also empowers individuals to act on your behalf. 

It keeps you in charge as long as you are alive and well.

It minimizes the need for guardianship or probate.

Powers of Attorney:

Grants somebody else to make decisions

Have access to information

Have ability to deal with property.

Have ability to make decisions

Financial Powers

Healthcare Powers

No POAs?  May require the appointment of a guardian to manage your affairs.

Advanced Healthcare Directives:

Instructs family and doctors about the care you want or don’t want at the end of your life.

It is followed when you are unable to speak for yourself.

Provides basic choices regarding lifesaving care, feeding tubes for food and hydration.

Can name a health care proxy to make other care decisions.

No Advanced Directive:  Can cause family disagreements concerning your care and end up in court.

Last Testament

Provides for payment of debts and expenses

Names a person to be in charge

Disposes of property left in your name

Requires a Court to admit it to probate

No Will (or other plan):  Probate property will be distributed according to intestacy statutes and involve cumbersome probate procedures. 


Avoids probate court

Can be changed

Can protect family from predators

Can protect assets from poor decisions

Provides inheritance

Works while you are alive

No Trust:  Probate may be required to transfer titles to properties.

Transfer on Death

Vehicles, Minerals & Land

Avoids probate

Easy to set up

Inexpensive to create

Negative: Possible Disinheritance

Beneficiary Designations:

Life Insurance & Annuities

IRA, 401k, 403b other Retirement

Bank / Credit Union Accounts & CDs

Disadvantages: Limited Contingency

Estate Planning involves a skill set that identifies how property is held and how it is passed upon death.  It also involves knowing what danger signs are ahead and how to plan for them.  Knowledge of the formalities of various documents is a necessity to an effective estate plan.

May 3, 2019 Richard WinbladEstate Planning

This company is building a 186-mile pipeline through Gavin, Stephens, Coal, Pontotoc and Murray Counties Oklahoma. Oklahoma

You have Constitutional Rights when Eminent Domain is Claimed

They must pay:

Value of what is taken.

Value to diminished value to the remainder of the property

Expect the Easement to be Forever!

As with most proposed easements there are onerous terms that can prevent the owner from building ponds, changing grade, planting trees or shrubs. 

As in all such cases, if an agreement is reached, there will be a one-time payment and no opportunity to re-negotiate the terms.

Don’t be Afraid to Say “NO” to the Initial Offer, or any offer.

In a similar pipeline project, another company paid a range from $180 to $745 per rod with an average of a 50 foot easement. The price obtained depended upon the nature of the property and the negotiation skills of the landowner.

Permanent means permanent.

An easement may prevent you from constructing or the loss of:

Paved roads, Buildings, Fences, Ponds, Pools, Wind Farms, Utilities,

Expect everything in the easement to be clear cut away.

Loss of trees, erosion issues, loss of privacy.

If there is no power of Eminent Domain, they cannot force their way across your land.

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