Also, in WV, sometimes "royalties" can mean an interest in the actual minerals, rather than just a royalty interest.
If there is no mention in the will, the rights automatically go to the heirs, if there are multiple heirs,it's split equally among them. I'm not an attorney,but I did stay at a holiday inn express. No, actually this happened when my dad died.
It is not always split equally among heirs. It depends on who the heirs are (how they are related), who may have predeceased the decedent, and the laws specific to your state, among other things.
You should ask the company what they need. Some require a copy of the death certificate, I think, and all will likely want a copy of the will. Also, check with the county clerk or assessor, and ask how to change the tax information.
I don't believe the O&G company will just pay you the royalty checks now by just showing them the will etc. You will have to have the rights deeded to you and then show them the deeds. They should hold the royalty checks in an account until everything is straightened out once you provide proof that their was a death or they may continue to send the checks in the deceased name. If they come in the deceased name the executor of the will has to place the money into a trust until probate is finished (if probate is needed) and final tax returns are filed and any state inheritance tax is paid (if your state has a tax) and other bills etc. Then if any money is left it will be disbursed once the estate is settled which can take up to 2 years.
My experience is that a will is sufficient, and no deed, but perhaps a straightforward will, as in our case, is different from the one involved here. In WV the county clerks have good information on what is required to change ownership for the county taxes and royalty reporting. There is a dollar amount for the estate over which probate is required, as I understand it. Under that, it is a simpler process. I recommend calling the Brooke county clerk and asking for information on this, and also contacting the company. They will need to hold funds in the decedent's name until things are cleared. Get the information on these two separate processes from these two separate parties. You might need an attorney in WV to help. If so, probably someone can recommend one in the Brooke county area, or maybe people at that courthouse can suggest someone.
Nancy you may be correct that no deed is needed for the O&G company to change ownership or at the very least to stop sending out checks to the deceased and hold them until they receive what they need. But in the end the new owner will want to transfer the rights into their name and I believe in West Virginia and Ohio it requires a Deed because O&G rights are considered property.