Can anyone tell me how ownership is proven in North Dokota for mineral rights? What kind of documents must one have in each county?
Beverly, to have a good, chain of title and marketable title, you either need to have all necessary probates done in North Dakota, ancillary probates if the estates were probated elsewhere [assuming you inherited the minerals] or you could complete a quiet title court action in place of multiple probates that need to be done. The end result will be the same, a deed in your name.
It can be difficult to sell small interests because the cost to the buyer to update title would be prohibitive, just as it may be to you to update the title.
If you had a small interest in ND that just wouldn't be worthwhile to update so you could sell or receive royalty if you leased it, I would wait for someone to drill a well on it and offer it to the operator. I wouldn't lease it to the operator because then he would have title to 80% of it already and no need to buy and no need to pay you royalty until you updated title. Unless the well was really poor, it would eventually build up enough money in suspense to pay for cleaning up title and then you could sell your small working interest to anyone.
If someone suggests that they buy several properties from you and include the small interests, just politely say no because you would probably be throwing them in for free and while you may not be able to collect on them presently, you may be able to at some time in the future. No sense in giving interests away.