Life Estate With Reservations (Tarrant County, Texas)

I have a General Warranty Deed With Life Estate Reservations filed with County Clerk (Tarrant). The purpose was to pass the small gas royalty from Chesapeake to my only son after my death. There is nothing else to probate so I don't see the need of probating a Will just for my house and gas royalty.

The Deed has Grantor (me) and Grantee (son) with the other requirements (addresses, property description, etc). The language also reads;

"For Grantor and Grantee's assigns, this conveyance includes a reservation of full possession, benefit, and use of the property for the remainder of the life of the Grantor, as a Life Estate. Grantor retains complete power, without the joinder of any person, to mortgage, sell, and convey the Property and to spend any proceeds; to lease the surface and subsurface of the Property; to execute and deliver oil, gas, or other minerals from the Property, ending either before or after the Grantor's death; and to invest and reinvest all proceeds from the sale or other disposition of the property. This life estate carries with it the right to possess and consume all bonuses, delay rentals, royalties, and other benefits payable on any mortgage, sale, or conveyance under oil, gas, and other mineral leases covering the property at the inception of this life estate without the duty to the remainderman and without liability of waste. Grantor further reserves the right to change, revise, revoke, or modify the designation of the remainderman and to revoke or revise the Grant of the remainder interest herein without duty or liability to, or consent of Grantee/remainderman. Upon the death of the Grantor, full record title shall be vested to Grantee".

Will this document (without being considered legal advise) give sufficient for Chesapeake to change the gas royalty to my son after my death -- assuming no changes such as sell the property, etc.? Or, must a Life Estate for the mineral rights only be also filed?


Texas recently changed the law to allow for Transfer on Death Deeds, where you execute a Transfer on Death Deed today and record it in the county and then at your death, title vests in the grantee - no need for probate to pass the asset. I think this method would be a lot easier than the life estate reservation you propose - and the Transfer on Death Deed is revocable should you ever change your mind about what you want to do with the minerals / royalties.


Eric Camp


Thank you so much. But, since I already have the Life Estate filed, do you think Chesapeake will accept the language? Chesapeake's website says ownership (without a Wil)l can take place "in a trust or life estate". It's now just a question of whether a separate document is necessary just for the gas royalty.

Again, thank you so much.


Gotcha. Yes, I think this will be enough for CHK to pay your son the royalties after your death. Your reserved life estate will terminate at your death and the minerals will then vest in your son.