Mineral rights loss

My sister and I reside in California. We had inherited a section of land in McHenry co. North Dakota. In 1984, we sold the property but retained the mineral rights, which honored the wishes of our parents who previously owned the property. We were not informed of the fact that, in North Dakota, you must re affirm to keep the rights every 20 years. Seems that we should have been notified of this before losing our rights. What steps are supposed to be taken before another party can acquire the mineral rights to a property? What can we do about this situation? Should we be looking for a mineral rights attorney to help us? If so, how do we go about locating a good attorney? Thanks for any help that you can give us, Pearl Hilburn and Judy Young

When did the surface owner record intent to succeed to the mineral rights under their surface?

If the court judgement is recent, you can probably recover your minerals but you will have to reimburse the surface owner for their expenses in attempting to succeed to your mineral interests. If you wait, I believe it is 2 years, the surface owner is allowed to perfect their title and you can't recover the minerals after they have done so.

I won't go over the steps because it's fairly long and drawn out to describe and you should be able to search it. Highlights are they have to send a letter to the last known address of record, stating their intent.

They have to give notice in the newspaper, usually the one with the greatest circulation in the county in which the minerals exist. I believe this must be done once a week for at least 3 weeks.

I believe they must search at least two and possibly three, online databases for the present owners and these need not be fee charging databases.

Then I believe they can make affidavits saying you could not be located and petition the court to succeed to the minerals under their surface.

If this has already happened, and they have leased your minerals, they get to keep the bonus and you will still be bound by any lease they executed because they had the legal right to do so at the time.

If it's been more than 2 years since the court awarded the mineral rights to the surface owner, you might contact a lawyer but I would not hold out much hope because at that point I think you would have to find a fault with their proceedure and if there was fault in their proceedure the court should have made them go back and do it correctly but things do slip through the cracks.


Here is relevant info. Hope it helps.

Found the North Dakota statute


My family just went through this same scenario in Bowman County. The mineral rights were quiet claimed by the surface owner. Luckily I had been looking into things as you have. They followed the law regarding posting in the local newspaper, but it was obvious that the attorney went to the county recorder to locate the owners of record. They mailed letters to my deceased father and two of his deceased sisters to a post office box in Bowman, ND. and the remaining living sister's letter was sent to the surface owners' attorney's office address in ND. Nothing was mailed to the address of record on the exhisting deed (where they found the above names), which is where my living mother still resides.

So, you see there was some shinannigans going on. We were successful in re-obtaining our mineral rights. You need to move on your case. Do some research by starting with the county recorders office. They can provide you with the deed document history and the quiet claim. You likely need to hire an attorney, but like said above, there is a time limit on it.

Let us know how things progress.