Unlike other countries in the world, the United States allows mineral rights to be sold separately from surface rights to individuals or corporations. In other nations, governments typically claim minerals that exist underground. U.S. lawmakers passed the General Mining Law in 1872 to encourage settlers to move out west. Today, the 19th century measure still rules the land, read more about how this could impact your property rights.
Sorting Out Mineral Rights
Do you own the mineral rights to your land? Many landowners have no idea. Usually, you assume you do, unless mineral rights have specifically been excluded from the sale.
However, this can become tricky. Many deeds fail to include this information. Still others may convey mineral rights, but may be incorrect.
Any previous land owners, dating back to the original land grant, may have withheld the transfer of a property’s mineral rights.
The only way you can be absolutely positive is to research historical deeds and property records carefully and thoroughly. Mineral-rich states where land owners need to be particularly alert because of the abundance of oil, gas, coal, gold, silver and other precious minerals include Texas, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Colorado and New Mexico. The so-called mineral estate and the surface estate commonly get separated in these states.
Conduct a Search of Property Records
Many states, including Texas, do not follow the Public Land Survey System or PLSS. This surveying method developed in the United States plats or divides up real property for sale. Instead, Texas uses the old British metes and bounds system. This lists the block, lot number and subdivision name where you can find the property.
It can be very difficult and time-consuming to determine ownership of mineral rights through a public records search. It requires finding all the times mineral rights changed hands. Sometimes gaps in the records exist, requiring you to search other public records. You must follow all the transactions to confidently determine who owns what today.
Because of its complexity, you may want to hire professionals to “run title” on mineral ownership and write an opinion. Although this may be costly, it will likely allow you to more quickly put together your property records and clearly determine who owns the mineral rights.
Additionally, you or your representative can search a counties’ property records online for a small fee. It can save time and be more convenient than showing up to the county clerk’s office to do your search.
One other thing we should alert you about. During your search, you may come across royalty deeds. These are different from mineral deeds. It means you have the right to receive royalty payments if minerals are actually produced.
How Do You Profit From Mineral Rights
If after all of your research you discover you own the mineral rights to your property, then you can sell them or lease them and earn royalties. Make sure to have an experienced attorney review the language.
If you learn someone else owns the mineral rights on your land, you can still profit. Companies often provide compensation for any property damage they cause. For example, drilling, completing and producing oil or gas wells generally damages three to 10 acres. Make sure to review your state’s law.
Additionally, negotiate a payment that not only covers your current losses, but your future ones, too. Turn to Paramount Property Analysts experts, who can give you an accurate mineral valuation and help you make important decisions about your mineral interests. Knowing their true value can help you get your financial picture in order.
Paramount Property Analysts Offers Mineral Appraisal Services
When you’re ready for an accurate valuation of the minerals in your land, give us a call. Our certified and experienced team have earned praise from our extensive list of clients in Texas and throughout the South. We look forward to helping you with mineral valuation, property taxes, estate planning and other such services you need today!