27 Aug CASE STUDY 3 : Old Man Wildstone’s Ranch
A man born in the late 1800’s bought a ranch in Texas in 1917. Let’s call him Mr. Wildstone. After Mr. Wildstone’s death intestate (without a valid will), a series of heirs and strangers lived on the ranch. One of those people even built a new home in the late 1980’s on the land. None had good title. By the late 2000’s the land had been abandoned. One afternoon the sheriff came to a woman’s door with papers to sell the land at the tax sale because property taxes were overdue. She is Mr. Wildstone’s great granddaughter. She remembered the ranch from her childhood but had not idea she was currently an owner. After some research, she learned of a dozen or more owners who were identified in an incredibly old oil and gas lease that a landman recorded, which contained as many errors as it did facts. At this juncture the tail became both clearer, but also more unclear to her and her Attorney. Eventually ARP was engaged and able to purchase her interest (her “share”) of the ranch without title insurance and restrain the tax foreclosure in enough time to track down witnesses to the family history, which included an old schoolteacher and farmer, and finally identified three generations of heirs.