Received first mineral rights lease offer, need help

First I want to say I am so greatful I found this forum yesterday, while waiting to be approved to post it gave me a lot of time to read and find out as much as I can before making this post.

I was unaware that my Grandmother owned any mineral rights in Doddrige County, WV. It was never disccused in her revokable trust when she died a few years ago. Yesterday we received a letter from a firm in Salem, WV offering us $322.60 bonus for .3226 NET acres of 50.33 gross acres with 15% royalty.

I called the clerks office there and was able to find a lease my Grandmother signed back in 2011 for 50 acres "for sum of $1" and later say the rate of "her portionate share of $5.00 per acre" ..beginning "when 100% of the lease is secure".

I do not understand this language and it is different then the offer made to us. At first my brother and I thought we had inherited 50 acres of land, but then thought of course that cant be or else we would have had to pay property taxes. After reading these leases over and over again I am not sure if we inherited 50 gross acress or .3226 NET of 50.33 gross acres. In my grandmother's lease from 2011 is doesnt show this small percentage of ownership instead it says 55 acres and in the legal documents that the landman asked us to sign it does not say .3226 anywhere it says 50.33 acres. I am concerned that potentially the landman is trying to get us to except a $326 bonus for our rights and then sell them to the Antero for a large sum. Or maybe we do only have rights to .3226 NET acres, but then how many others share this 50 acres as well, who else did this landman send letters to in my extended family.

So I am planning to make a trip to West Virginia tomorrow and really need some advice on what I need to bring with me and what to be prepared for. As far as I know there was no deed claim issued to us. My brother and I are her only two living linear heirs, our father past before our grandmother did. I am hopoing to get a copy of my Grandmothers deed/claim and research any transfers of land or mineral rights.

Any suggestios are appreciated thank you very much.

I just saw your discussion and will try to reply a little later this evening. I can answer a few of your questions I think. No time right now. Nancy

Thank you Nancy,

I saw your reply in several other threads and I was really hoping you would chime in.

Look forward to hearing from you.

Hi Shaun, I have at least a few answers.

50 .33 gross acres sounds like what the survey says, a recent one. The lease showing 55 acres probably was an early survey. They were not always very accurate, and often the acreage changes with a new survey.

The net acreage would be your share of the total mineral interest. It could have been a great great grandfather or someone that far back who had the 55 (or 50) acre farm, then sold it, retained the mineral rights, and moved away. Left the mineral rights to several children, each of whom had several children, and by the time it is your generation things get pretty split up. Often people retained mineral rights but there was not a well on the farm when they sold it, and maybe the county didn't record that great grandfather retained the rights so didn't start tax tickets. Then great grandpa, who also forgot about the mineral rights, died and the children don't know they need to tell Doddridge county anything. This sort of thing happens a lot. They keep up with surface ownership pretty well, but not so much for mineral owners.

About the amount of money listed on the lease: it is standard language to say things like $1.00 or nowadays $10.00 when the actual amount was more.

You need to look at that 2011 lease that your grandmother signed. I replied to your other post with a link to the Doddridge records online/ a 2011 document should be there and viewable for free. Read the lease and see the term. That phrase about "beginning when 100% of the lease is secure" might not have been met yet. So that lease might be valid still, and binding on you and any other heirs of your grandmother.

The company contacting you might not be the company planning on drilling, either now or later. They might be what you seem to suspect: a "flipper".

The amount offered is about $1000 an acre, which is low even for a small amount of acreage.

I'll let you read this and see what you think, and the other discussion, and please ask if you have any more questions. I might be able to help.

Thank you very much !

The landman is definitely a 3rd party for Antero, well that is what they told me in the 5min conversation with them. This 3rd party is the same company listed on my Grandmothers 2001 lease.

I am sorry if I said 2011, I meant 2001 and hers was a 5 year lease for 55 acres.

I was unable to find any other documents online with my Grandmothers name on the site they provided.

My brother and I are the only two surviving linear heirs and both received the same offer from this landman.

Hopefully that clears up some things

So you did find the 2001 lease online? That's a good start.

If you know her father's name, you could try that. Most of the online documents are fairly recent but sometimes they have some earlier ones at least indexed.

Her Maiden name is Church, I don’t know any of her family that wasn’t from here.

I do have the genealogy report on my grandpas side but that doesn’t show much for grandma. I think had some hits on Church in PA and WV.

Yes I did find that online but was really vague and only showed the $1 and $5 per acre