In 1981 my father purchased interest in an oil well, for which I have the paperwork. I am attempting to do some research on behalf of my mother to see if, after all this time, there was/is any value in this ownership.

I have determined that the oil company operated from 1981 until 1993, and it is now dissolved. The original owners were a husband and wife team, husband now deceased. I have the location of the wife who now lives with her son, and possibly also have their current phone numbers.

The question is, what should I expect from this 'assignment of oil and gas lease'? Should there be a bank account somewhere with interest collecting for the past 30 plus years? Should I call them up and ask questions?

Added the following: The property is located in Indiana, USA. The document is titled 'assignment of oil and gas lease'. The verbiage is 'Assignor does hereby sell, assign, transfer and set of unto Assignee x/xth in and to the oil and gas lease dated xx/xx/1981 from Lessor (name of oil company) to Lessee (same as Assignor) insofar as said lease covers the following described land etc.

Thank you!

  • Where is the oil well located? The law varies from place to place. It might be different in Scotland v. Montana v. Texas v. Mexico. Also, there are several kinds of interests in an oil well (mineral interest, royalty interest, working interest, etc.) and this is relevant.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Mar 13, 2017 at 18:03

1 Answer 1


Assignments of oil and gas leases are used for many different reasons. To determine the value of this interest you will need to review the oil and leases not just the assignment. If the assignment or exhibit has recording information for the oil and gas lease(s) it will help you search the county records.

Once you find the leases you will need to review the terms to determine if the lease(s) were ever held by production. Oil and gas leases expire after a certain time period if production is not obtained in paying quantities.

You could try using the legal description of the assignment or lease(s) and comparing it to the records on the Indiana Department of Natural Resources website:


It seems like a call to the company could be helpful.

  • A call to the company would always be the first step, except that it is now dissolved Commented Apr 5, 2017 at 11:54

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