Adverse possession and minerals

Our family has owned 640 acres in Pecos County south of FT. Stockton since the 1880’s. It is land locked and the surrounding 20000 + acres was purchased 3 years ago. The new owner sued for adverse possession. We hired a lawyer and answered the suit. After 2 years the suit was dropped by the county. The new owner offered $150.00 an acre a year ago. It is appraised at $400 not including minerals. He has ignored our counter of $400 for surface and half minerals. He is considering attempting adverse possession again. If he is successful will he also get the minerals? Should we separate the minerals?

Probably best to talk to a lawyer again!

Yes! By all means, separate the minerals! These are two separate estates (surface and mineral) but if they remain in Fee Simple, then the minerals would go with the surface, if he were successful. You definitely need to talk to a good lawyer who knows oil & gas.

Thanks M-Barns and Cow-boy. We are currently getting them separated. I have tried to get to the property a few times. It is about 5 miles north of the Pinon field. Got close but was not able to set foot on it. My first trip in 2008 was a few months prior to Sandridge running seismology and then getting a 5 year lease with them. Last October I went out and tried to get a helicopter to carry me there to set foot on it. Turned out all helicopters were leased out to round up cattle. A near by neighbor had two of them and cautioned me on who to lease a copter from. Would like to get it leased again but don’t see much hope with gas at $1.85. Sure do miss those $10+ NG prices in 2008…

The adverse possession case is back on. We did separate the minerals and formed a LLC but now our lawyer (a tax attorney for one of the primary owners) tells us that separating the minerals may not protect us from loosing them if we loose the adverse possession case. Not sure who to believe. The property had seismology run and was leased by Sandridge in 2008.

If you don’t mind saying, and it’s not too complicated to answer here, I’m curious about the basis of the adverse possession claim by the new owner of the surrounding 20,000 acres.

Did the prior owner of that surrounding tract have your 640 fenced, use it, and pay taxes on it, and had your family contested any of that? Had you tried to gain an access easement through the surround tract? In Texas I thought they couldn’t land lock you, although it might take a lawsuit to acquire the access.

No lawyer, but it seems like your claim to the mineral interest could depend at what point a court decided the other party had gained title to that 640 acres. If they ruled the others perfected their adverse claim before you severed the mineral interest then you might not have had the right to separate it.

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