NM Mineral Rights expiration

Purchased some vacant land in Moriarty NM in 1981, finished paying it off in 1997. The warranty deed signed by the grantors in 1997 indicated “Grantors reserve all minerals, and oil and gas, on or under said land.” This stipulation was not in the initial contact signed in 1981. It is 2021, 40 years after initially purchasing the land and 24 since getting the signed warranty deed.

  • Do these mineral rights expire after 20 years?
  • Do I now own the mineral rights on my land?
  • Do I need to submit any form(s) to Torrance County indicating I now own the mineral rights/?

Thanks in advance

Dennis Tirado

You need to contact an attorney since there may be a cloud on the title now.

Martha is correct. You need an attorney that is licensed in NM. New Mexico looks at contracts differently than Texas does.

A court will want to know what took so long from getting the warranty deed and just now raising the issue. One defense that will be raised by the sellers is called the doctrine of laches or, It is based on the maxim that “equity aids the vigilant and not those who slumber on their rights.” (Black’s Law Dictionary).

In your original contract to purchase were mineral interests mentioned? Did it state the a fee simple ownership transfer would occur? If so, there is a long shot at getting a deed reformed or filing a correction deed. NM Courts have a doctrine of “mutual mistake”. This permits them to reform agreements (and perhaps deeds) that do not reflect what the parties actually intended. But it is based a lot of what was included in your original agreement.

Keep us informed.

Thanks for the reply. I need to find the original contract. I was in my 20s and bought the land from a colleague at IBM in 1981. The investment was for the long run… maybe some day it paid off. I paid for years, then when it was paid off in 1997, the warranty deed came in the mail. I had no experience on these matters and stored the warranty deed for safeguard. Recently, my wife and I are trying to produce Living Trust and a Will. I was reviewing all my assets and noticed the statement in the deed.

Thanks and sorry for the delay in response. I am searching for the original purchase contract. Will get back with you.

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