Owning property. It’s an integral part of the American dream. You can survey your property and proudly declare that this expanse of land is yours. Legally, ownership of that expanse of land is known as surface rights, which includes anything atop it, such as structures, trees and foliage. Ownership of what’s under the land is referred to as mineral rights.
Mineral rights provide the owner rights to any mineral content below the surface of that property, such as oil and gas. If a person owns the mineral rights, they are granted access to the surface of the property, even if it’s owned by another party. If they decide to extract natural resources, they have the right to drill or mine on that property.
Generally, when you purchase a home you own the surface and mineral rights, unless the latter is contractually owned by another party. If it is, you’ll know about it, so don’t worry that somebody will arrive on your property one day and begin digging in the hopes of striking oil or uncovering a thick vein of gold.
Types of Mineral Interests
Before discussing how to transfer mineral rights in Texas, it’s important to first understand the four (4) types of interests that can be sold, gifted or willed to another person or entity.
Mineral Interest is the interest generated from oil and gas production after either a sale by mineral deed or an oil and gas lease.
Royalty Interest occurs once mineral rights are leased. The owner of the mineral rights retains royalty interest if they enter into a lease agreement with another party.
Working Interest is associated with any exploration, drilling and development of the property.
Overriding Royalty Interest doesn’t provide ownership of the natural resources. It defines ownership of a portion of revenue generated from the production of oil or gas.
How Can I Transfer Mineral Rights to Another Person?
Whether through sale, gift or inheritance, the transfer, or conveyance, of mineral rights in Texas relies on the following:
- A deed that names the seller/donor and the purchaser/donee. It states and describes the rights being sold or given. In Texas, a spouse usually isn’t required to sign the conveyance document. However, spousal signature will be required if the rights are held in both names or the mineral rights are located on the property on which they both reside.
- Filing of the notarized conveyance in the county government office. It’s not valid until it has been recorded there.
If you’re going to transfer mineral rights, it’s best to first secure the services of an experienced oil and gas law attorney. While the aforementioned provides general information concerning the transferring of mineral rights in Texas, there are many potential legal issues to take into consideration. If you have questions about transferring mineral rights in Texas, contact the skilled and highly experienced business at Bennett Weston LaJone & Turner, P.C.