A: In order for companies to be obligated to pay, they have to know that they are paying the correct person. The person to be paid must have "marketable title." In order to do that they must have completed probates for each of their predecessors who died while owning the minerals. In cases where the interests are very small (the dollar amount paid out), a company may choose to rely upon an affidavit of heirship. They are not obligated to rely on an affidavit unless it has been of record for 10 years and other certain requirements have been met. Although it was common wisdom in Oklahoma from "great aunts" to never sell your minerals, through the generations, they get split up to such tiny portions, that they can become valued less than the cost to transfer them. Although each situation is different, we believe that mineral owners should consider the size and value of the interest before they continue to split them up amongst their heirs. see https://robertsonwilliams.com/mineral-interest-management-for-families-101/ You should consult and oil and gas attorney to help you with this issue.
A: An attorney would have to review the entire probate and any other related transactions to see if there were any cause of action. Unjust enrichment is an equitable action and subject to equitable defenses such as laches. Unjust enrichment is an action that is highly dependent on the the facts and actions of the parties. You should consult with an attorney to see what if anything can be done for your situation.