My sibling and I inherited from my parents (testate) 8 tracts of mineral rights. Each ranged from 60 acres to 90 or more. My parents at death lived in a different state than the location of the mineral rights and I live in a third state. The tracts are all in the same state and county, but only some are adjacent to each other. None of the wells on these tracts are producing.
My sibling before death passed on to me her 1/2 interest.
I hired each separately and paid a lawyer and an Abstract Co. (recommended by the lawyer) located in the state and county of the property to search and/or clear the title.
Note: I provided sequentially all deeds, properly measured descriptions and Section Nos. etc. (as required by the state of location) going back to the 30's. Each tract description contained the amount of acreage. Each of these deeds etc. were pretty much copied verbatim one to the next without re-surveying and calculating. Each deed states that Mr. and Mrs. Whoever (different owners for some of the tracts were conveying 1/2 interest in the tract, but did not state if that amount of acreage was "net" or "gross".
Documented in writing and by phone, I hired a lawyer in the county of location to prepare a Mineral Deed that would include all 8 tracts, but identify them separately so I could sell or leave in trust all 8 of them together or separately.
Note: The clearing of title did not provide any additional information and documents. (I paid the County Clerk for the few items I did not have, but all documents were both very detailed and consistent and matched each other throughout. No surprises for the Abstract Co. However, exact verbiage from the prior deeds was shuffled around just a little in the title search and the lawyer (or maybe an assistant) has now described 10 tracts. Further, there is no mention of the acreage of each tract or the total.
Note: I talked to the Abstract person and he said he (one man office) does not computerize copies of the title searches he produces and does not retain paper copies. His work was done a couple years ago. (Law grinds along slowly it seems.)
My problem is this:
Important to say clearly while I mention "pay" my question does not have to do with the finances of this at the moment. I now have a potential buyer for either all or several of the tracts together. I thought I had a copy of MY Mineral Deed that the lawyer had filed with the County Clerk and I had paid all the invoices regarding it. Over the last year I paid for the lawyer's assistant to spend an hour answering by phone my confusion about what I thought was my Mineral Deed. Not satisfied then I tried and paid to have the same questions answered by the lawyer. Questions such as: " In all documentation that I have provided separately to you and the abstract person there have always been 8 tracks very completely defined. Never 10. Further, There is nothing in your document that states the total or approximate amount of acreage either individually or collectively...only the technical descriptions. He said he often does not include acreage because he has no way of verifying if those in the prior deeds with complete transfers of the property were correct (even though this were listed with each tract description).
Today the County Clerk told me by phone that she did not have a Mineral Deed on file. Just an Affidavit for Death and Heirship for both parents. Attached to each affidavit "Exhibit B" listed 10 tracts instead of 8 and there was no mention of acreage.
I did finally figure out this document was not my Mineral Deed even though, as I mentioned above. That is why I had phone conferences that I have paid for with both the assistant and lawyer months ago. They never said they needed additional information from me or they had further work to do for me to complete what I needed to sell, donate or bequeath this to someone else.
I have described above my recent conversation with the person who did the title search. Today I called the lawyer, explained briefly my problem to his assistant and he has not yet returned my call, but will. Within this year when I talked to the law office I felt that the assistant didn't understand the process or something. When I talked to him we seemed to go around in circles and I sensed he was speaking from memory, just winging it since some months had passed and I hadn't heard anything further from them. I thought somehow we must be finished.
I have already had to let a couple possible opportunities get away. I know energy has bottomed and there is limited market now. I've made an effort to get some answers from these professionals. Was a bit shocked by the response from the abstract person though that may be normal. When the lawyer does return my call I need some answers and a Mineral Deed that I can use.
So sorry for this long explanation, but I've tried to give you as complete a scenerio as I know. I grew up in the oil patch. My father was a petroleum engineer for a very well recognized oil company later. He did the surveying on these tracts while with an established smaller oil company and that is where he obtained these mineral rights. That has been helpful...but I need direction because I have experienced this sort of getting "bogged down" before. While I am by no means expert in this I have a fair understanding of the services I need.
I would so appreciate it if anyone can give me an idea of what I should expect to finish this transaction.
So many thanks to all of you who have slogged through all this detail.
I send a "shout out" to the Mineral Rights Forum for all it does for the industry. I'm certain they appreciate our contributions.