Because we live in a mineral, gas, and oil-rich state, estates can be severed into surface estates and mineral estates and owned by multiple or different people. As you can imagine, this can become confusing over the years as a property is sold or inherited by other family members. Just keeping track of who owns what can quickly get out of hand if thorough and proper records aren’t available.
What are Severed Estates?
Texas is one of several U.S. states that allows the division of properties into surface and mineral estates. Doing so lets people sell their mineral-rich land to developers and other businesses while retaining their rights to live on the land. For example, someone may choose to sever their estate and sell the mineral level to an oil developer and gift the family home to their children.
Owners of a severed estate may do whatever they wish with their portion as long as it doesn’t threaten the property of the other. For example, a surface estate owner may not start drilling in the land around their home; those resources belong to the mineral estate owner. Furthermore, a mineral estate owner may not demolish any structures on the land, as these belong to the surface estate owner.
Severed Estate Disputes
Because it is not uncommon for both levels of the estate to be sold or inherited many times over, it is crucial that anyone buying or selling Texas real estate do their due diligence in determining true ownership of land assets. Failure to do so could give rise to contentious and expensive legal battles. Be sure to verify the deeds of any property before signing any paperwork. Your best bet for avoiding any legal trouble in regards to property is to retain an experienced and exacting real estate and/or mineral, oil, and gas law attorney to complete a full discovery before you proceed with any real estate transaction.
Principled Legal Counsel
Our firm has been handling Texas estate inheritance oil and gas law issues for over 50 years. Contact the esteemed real estate law and oil and gas lawyers at Porter, Rogers, Dahlman & Gordon, P.C. today to schedule a free consultation at one of our conveniently-located offices: