How would one determine their fractional mineral right % in Converse County Wyoming?
I believe that it is not a simple and straightforward process. One must follow the chain of title ownership from the Homestead Days to present times. These are recorded in the County Clerk Office at the seat of the county where minerals are located. You may need to hire a title search and have a professional land person bring you up to speed on current owner ship percentages of land/mineral quantities mass. Then that is played against the language in the particular oil lease document as in our lease language, percentages are mentioned.Oil companies have landmen that are paid living wages to interpret these county records for them…Hope that may help
David makes some good points in his response. The landman who negotiates an oil company lease from you is very, very interested in making sure the lease documents are correct. So if you or a relative has already leased to an oil company, much of this work could have been done and that should be posted in the county clerks office. .
Sometimes it is easy. Take my situation as an example. Grandfather homesteaded the land and kept 50% of mineral rights when he sold the property. My Grandfathers 50% interest went to my Father when Grandpa died. My Father was the only child alive when Grandpa died. My Fathers ownership was registered with Converse County because my Father leased the mineral rights to a couple of different oil companies back in the 1980s. So that paper trail was available and recorded at the clerks office… When my Father passed away, his 50% then went to my Mother through the family trust and then when Mom passed away, the mineral rights were passed down in equal parts to my brother and I. Luckily, all these transfers down to my Mother had been recorded with Converse County. So it was very easy to hire a lawyer in Douglas WY to get the paperwork straight for my brother and I to each have our 25% ownership documented with Converse County. The lawyer needed my parents trust documents and copies of the respective wills The new ownership for my brother and I was then recorded with the Converse County Clerk. The lawyer supervised all this since neither of us live in Wyoming. All this happened before we leased the rights to Chesapeake, so the process was again doubled checked by the Chesapeake landman. Once they were certain about ownership, then a lease was signed by Chesapeake.
What I have just described is about as simple as it gets. Very few transfers of ownership. Easy paper trail to follow, all of the trust and will documents were available. If there are may children of the original owner, and those children had more children or minerals have been bought and sold over the years, it can get a lot more complicated. Also the absence of documents such as wills, trusts etc can be a complication. The county clerk requires proof of ownership. .
I would start by contacting the Converse County Clerks office. What does the Clerk have recorded, when was it recorded, and have the recordings been kept up with the life events as it relates to your families portion of the minerals?? Once you get an idea of what the county clerk has recorded, then you can make a judgement about how much work needs to be done to make sure the county ownership/title records are correct.
I hope this simple example is helpful. If you have records about transfers of ownership — or even partial records – find them and hold on to them. I’m sure the lawyers around Douglas have seen some very involved situations. But from my experience, If you can give them a place to start, it makes things go easier.
Wishing You Good Luck!
John thanks for chiming in! In our case there are over 88 pages of court Documents and mineral lease transfers and ownership chains to unscramble and there may be more unbeknown. Those pages only bring us to 2003 and need to be brought to the present day. There may be uncertain understandings as things can get lost in translation from legalese to actual English. Complexity comes to mind.