Thank you for accepting my membership to this website. I am posting on behalf of a family friend who could have been easily screwed over due to lack of industry knowledge and resources to hire an attorney. I am wondering if she got screwed over on mineral rights leasing valuation and/or the ultimate selling of said mineral rights.
My concerns are based on..
1. An expert in mineral rights valuation indicated to me recently that when she leased the acreage for $300 an acre, she could have easily received upwards of $2,000 an acre;
2. Her lack of industry knowledge may have resulted in an unreasonable and uncustomary valuation in selling the mineral rights, and;
3. Important, as it doubles everything above: the company who would ultimately be buying the mineral rights told her that they were unable to locate a will. There is evidence of one existing, such as an affidavit from the deceased mineral rights owner’s wife saying there was a will. This caused the Texas Decent and Distribution law to kick in, which cut her and her siblings inheritance in half. This was never researched by someone qualified to find this type of document.
In her own words:
“In mid-2012 I received notification from company A that myself and several siblings were each entitled to 80 acres of mineral rights in South Texas. This was due to them believing there was a will on file. There is also a signed affidavit from the wife of the deceased mineral rights owner saying they had a will. This affidavit was from the 60s.
We each leased our 80 acres to Company A for about $300 an acre (approximately $30K each).
Feeling it was a good idea to sell the acreage, and since Company A was not responding to correspondence in a timely manner, we ended up communicating with Company B (who approached us). Company B said there was no will on file (assumed to have been destroyed) and that, as per Texas Descent and Distribution, we were only entitled to 40 acres each.
Despite being told by the attorney brokering the sale to hire an attorney and research the will issue, that he “believed there was in fact a will”, we ended up each selling 40 acres, not 80, for about $250,000 each.”
My limited understanding of contract law leads me to believe that if there is significant grievance between what a contract stipulates and what would be considered reasonable and customary, the contract may be considered null and void.
- If the $300 an acre leasing valuation, or the $250K sale evaluation, is grossly below what would be considered reasonable and customary, may she petition the company or the court to somehow make this right?
- Is there anything to be gained by any parties, other than her and her siblings, for the will to not have been found? If the will were located, may she and her siblings petition the company or the court to somehow make this right?
If the answer to either of the above questions is “yes”, does anyone have any insight on whether or not a legal institution, familiar with this type of stuff, would take a look at this on a high-commission basis? I know that if any of these concerns are valid (grossly unreasonable or uncustomary valuation of leasing rights, grossly unreasonable or uncustomary valuation of mineral rights, or a will not being entered into consideration) that Texas laws should favor her and her siblings – just need to have the right people tear into this. She has excellent records of every step of the process and is willing to pay a high percentage commission on any return since the alternative is a complete loss.