Thank you for your question.
Unfortunately to have the actual ownership of the mineral rights to the property transferred to you and your brother you are going to have to go through the steps of informal probate in North Dakota. Real Property rights like this require informal probate to transfer the actual title to the property to the heirs named in the Will.
It is really not that big of a deal so long as you and your brother are in agreement and get along. Frankly it does not matter that you have been receiving income, etc. There is no reason to tell the probate court this.
All you need to do is go through the steps of informal probate. Here is a great outline of the steps that are necessary from the North Dakota probate court. http://www.ndcourts.gov/court/forms/probate/guidebook.htm#p9
The steps are set out under "Opening the Probate Estate" Section B.
It will take at least 3 months to publish and let the Notice to Creditors expire before title to the property is clear so that you can complete the sale transaction.
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Okay, that answers part of my question. Now to the Agreement I received.
1) I am agreeing to cooperate in their efforts to complete heirship or probate proceedings for my mother
2) I agree to fully participate in all quiet title, probate and heirship proceedings including signing documents, submitting written or oral testimony. I agree not to interfere with the proceeding and if I do, it would be a breach of contract.
3) The land description is included.
4) I acknowledge sale is pending title verification.
5) I agree to accept payment for 1/2 of the interest ($xxx,xxx) in the described lands and acknowledge the mineral deed will be placed in record. The balance will be paid and subject to completion. In the event the title failure affecting in excess of 50% of the interest, I will refund the proportionate amount of the prior payment.
6) I represent the information is true.
My brother and I are both in agreement. There are no other heirs. The title is clear and there are no liens against it. The purchaser is paying all probate costs.
What are the pitfalls, if any, that you see?
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