New Tip Sheet on How to Change the Payee of a Decedent’s California Oil and Gas Lease by Mark W. Bidwell

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California has a shortcut probate procedure known as “Affidavit Real Property of Small Value.” New Tip Sheet by Mark W. Bidwell, a licensed California attorney, explains how executors, successor trustees and heirs can use this shortcut to change the payee of a decedent’s oil and gas lease.

Mark W. Bidwell, Attorney at Law

Don't walk away from that Oil and Gas Lease.

Mark W. Bidwell, a licensed California attorney explains in this Tip Sheet how executors of Wills, successor trustees and heirs can use the “Affidavit Real Property of Small Value”(the “Affidavit”) to change the payee of oil and gas leases. The Affidavit is a powerful and inexpensive tool to avoid probate and save time for oil and gas leases valued at less than $50,000.

Many Californians own an interest in an oil and gas lease. The lease is a separate and distinct ownership interest in oil and natural gas found below the surface of real property owned by someone else. The lease provides a revenue stream to the owner.

After the owner has died the leasing company continues to make checks payable to the decedent. These checks cannot be deposited or cashed into a bank account. Most often the revenue stream is a few hundred dollars a month.

Many heirs are tempted to walk away from these payments because of the complexity of changing ownership. But the small revenue stream is an opportunity. Most often the appraised value of this small revenue stream is less than $50,000.

A state appointed probate referee determines the market value of the lease as of date of death. If the probate referee determines the market value is less than $50,000 the Affidavit, a certificate of death, legal description and an Inventory and Appraisal are filed with the Clerk of the Court.

The Court Clerk returns a signed certified copy of the Affidavit. The affidavit is recorded with County Recorder. A copy of the recorded Affidavit is provided to the leasing agent. The affidavit identifies the heirs as owners and payees.

An oil and gas lease owned by a decedent may be transferred to heirs by an “Affidavit Real Property of Small Value.” The Affidavit is economical and efficient. The Affidavit changes the payee from the decedent to the heirs so monthly lease checks can be deposited.

This press release is provided by Mark W. Bidwell. Mr. Bidwell markets through websites such as Office is at 4952 Warner Avenue, Suite 235, Huntington Beach, California 92649. Phone is 714-846-2888.

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Mark Bidwell

Mark W.Bidwell
Kim Nishida
since: 10/2012
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