Royalty Owner Qualification for State and Federal Benefits Part 1
At least several times a month, we receive a call from a desperate and exasperated son or daughter trying to figure what to do about qualification of their parent for some type of State or Federal service. Whether they seek Medicaid or some other type Social Security benefit, the problems presented are the same.
Divestiture or appraisal of one or more small producing royalties, overrides or working interests, from which they continue to receive small periodic or monthly income, may pose a seemingly impassable hurdle to overcome. Although the rules vary depending upon which type of aide is sought, often qualification for financial aid is dependent upon the sale or appraisal of a small fractional interest in what is invariably dwindling marginal production. Unfortunately there seems to be an uneven application of the interpretation of guidelines, so one person seeking benefits will be able to qualify based on his or her financial disclosures which include mineral or royalty production amounting to $10.00 to $100.00 per month, for interest in a small Texas or Oklahoma oil and gas well.
Conversely, another person seeking help from the same agency but talking to a different agent will be denied based on the uncertainty of the value of the asset. Often times, the revelation that income, even as little as fifty cents a month is based upon a PRODUCING OIL AND GAS INTEREST, elicit unrealistic expectations from the State or Federal administrative employee. With little experience or reference to guide them, the administrator simply denies the claim for benefits based upon an applicant’s ownership of an income source that is not understood or difficult to evaluate.
WHAT TO DO WHEN A SALE IS REQUIRED?
When a family member or custodian contacts us, they have usually sought the help from one or more of the companies the applicant is being paid by. The policy of most oil companies dictates that they are neither able to give a valuation or appraisal, nor offer to acquire the interest themselves. It would be an obvious conflict of interest for them to do so. The approach of what to do depends upon the aide administrators dictates. If a sale is absolutely required, then short of an administrative hearing and review, there is little else to be done. Time is usually the enemy here, where an elderly or ill person might face eviction or termination from services if the small royalty properties are not immediately sold. Unfortunately, there are so many types of producing oil and gas interests, that finding a buyer for a small fractional interest in Kansas, might pose a problem – particularly where time is of the essence.
Although hesitate to do so, many of the major oil and gas companies will provide a list of royalty buyers for a region of the country. As with anything, there are good honest companies that have been around for a considerable time and then there are brokers who are simply compiling enough small interests into packages which they can then quickly flip for a profit. When we (Russell T. Rudy Energy, LLC) acquire an interest, we make certain that all of the paperwork is done appropriately, from the preparation and recordation of deeds to the notification of all oil and gas purchasers, operators and tax appraisal districts. We do not sell the interests, but rather accumulate them into our company and manage them. Both John Pepper and I have been in the business for over twenty-five years and would be pleased to make an offer to acquire any type of producing interest from any state in the country. If an interest is so small that the cost of acquisition would be beyond its value, we can suggest ways in which to liquidate the interest quickly. If fact, I had such a call last week from a Legal Custodian needing to liquidate a small interest in Montana and wondering if that is something we would consider acquiring- in a hurry. The individual owner involved was an 89 year old man with advanced Alzheimer’s in a private nursing home in Ohio. He was about to lose his benefits and possible eviction unless he liquidated all of his assets including a small royalty interest in a very old well in Montana. I explained that whether the interests were producing Texas overrides, non-producing Oklahoma minerals, California Production Payments, Kansas royalties or practically any type, kind or size of oil and gas interests that we were able to make a quick and fair offer and take the full responsibility for all aspects of the transfer of interests.