How To Find Mineral Rights

Mineral rights, also known as a “mineral interest,” are property rights that allow a person or entity to explore and extract rocks, minerals, oil, or gas found below the surface of land.Mineral rights can be valuable to someone.You have the legal right to extract and use the minerals if you own the rights.

Step 1: Understand the title.

Fee simple title is ownership in land, which includes the surface, the subsurface, and the air above the property.The fee simple holder should own the mineral rights if there are minerals below the surface.Fee simple title can be carved up.The minerals below the surface can be sold by the owner of fee simple title to land.Some minerals can be sold.

Step 2: Find your deed.

If there are minerals beneath the surface of a piece of property, you need to find the deed to the property.Look to see if you were given a fee simple title.Property deeds can be incorrect.When the mineral rights were sold decades ago, a property deed could state that it is conveying fee simple title.You will probably have to do a title search if you don’t trust the deed 100%.

Step 3: Call the title company.

You need to research the chain of title in order to make sure that your deed is accurate.If you do this search, you will be able to find out if the mineral rights were sold off in the past.You can find a title search company by looking in your phone book.The American Land Title Association is a national trade association.You can find a company by visiting the organization’s website and clicking on the “For Consumers” link at the top of the page.

Step 4: Ask how far back the company searches.

Only so far in time will title searchers agree to go back.Some title companies only trace the chain of title for 40 years.Mineral rights could have been conveyed earlier.It is possible that title companies will agree to go further back in history.To save on costs, you could ask a researcher to give you a take-off.You can specify that you don’t want a list of all deeds in the chain of title, but only those that convey mineral rights.

Step 5: Hire a lawyer.

You might want to consider hiring a lawyer if you know that you have valuable minerals underneath your property.A lawyer can perform a title search, though he or she will probably be more expensive than the title company.If you have valuable minerals under your property, you will eventually need a lawyer to help you contract with a company to extract them, so developing a relationship with the lawyer is beneficial to you.State laws try to make people more secure.Marketable record title can extinguish a prior ownership interest in your land.The laws are hard to understand for the lay person.Depending on your own circumstances, a qualified attorney will be able to inform you of your legal rights.If you want to find an experienced mineral rights attorney, you should visit your state bar association.You should be able to search by lawyer specialty once at the referral website.If you can’t findmineral rights, then look for attorneys who specialize in real estate, property, or land use.

Step 6: You can visit the recorder’s office.

You need to go to the office in the county where the land is located to begin your search.If you don’t know where the office is, you should call the town office.

Step 7: If you need assistance, ask the staff.

Different offices keep their records in different ways.All of the records may be stored electronically.Older deeds may be left in leather-bound books.Some people may have their papers in paper form.Inform the staff that you are looking for mineral rights by showing your deed.A staff member can show you how to search.

Step 8: You need to find the deed before yours.

The land deed that precedes yours will be the first thing you will look for in the chain of title.Someone else bought the land from you.You need to see the deed used to transfer the land.If you locate the copy of that deed, read it carefully.Look for a mention of minerals being reserved or transferred.You can read the whole deed.

Step 9: Continue working.

You need to find the deed for the transaction before you do.Continue to scrutinize each deed.To get to the original land grant, you need to go as far back as possible.Every deed that you find in the chain of title should be copied.These documents can be hard to read and you might overlook something if you work in the recorder’s office.You can take them to a lawyer if you copy them.

Step 10: If you find agap, look for other records.

There is a gap when you find a deed where Party X transfers an interest in land to party Y, but you can’t find the source deed.A break in the chain of title can cause a gap.You can look at divorce records.The clerk at the recorder’s office may be able to give these to you.Wills can be used to convey land interests.Find out about tax sales.If the owner of a piece of property was late in paying taxes, the property may be seized and sold at a tax sale.Tax sales should be kept in the tax assessor’s office.Take a look at mortgage foreclosures.There are recorded mortgages on pieces of property.If the owner defaults on the mortgage, the bank or other mortgage holder could have foreclosed on it and sold it.You might have to look for the bank to fill the gap.

Step 11: The mineral rights have a chain of title.

If mineral rights were severed from the fee simple estate at some point in the past, you need to find out who the current owner is.Mineral rights can be conveyed just like any other interest in property, so you can’t assume that the person or entity that was given mineral rights in the past still holds them.In 1905 mineral rights were severed from the fee simple title to your property in the chain of title.You need to know who owns those rights.The person who received the rights in 1905 may have left them in a will or sold them to someone else.If they were conveyed by deed, you need to research the chain of title to find out who the rights were to.You should work with an attorney to find the owner of the mineral rights if you find them severed.It could be difficult to find a needle in a haystack.