Running Title in Texas

If a buyer wants to purchase minerals in Texas, and the surface and mineral estates are still unified (not severed), do they have to use a licensed title company? I know for surface-only transactions that only certain licensed parties can run the title per the Texas Occupation Code, but it says that’s not necessarily required if it “relates to the sale, purchase or transfer of a mineral interest or other interest associated with an interest in the minerals”. So what if I don’t want to severe the surface for the transaction, does a licensed title company have to be used or can a landman create an ownership report without dealing with the “unauthorized practice of law” nor adhering to the Texas Real Estate Licensing Act?

In most states the unauthorized practice of law occurs when a third party provides legal services (such as preparing deeds) or advice. Generally, a person may represent his or herself in any matter though this may be inadvisable. For instance, a person can draft their own Will, represent themselves in court, etc. If this is a significant transaction a hired professional is advisable.

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Any suggestions on how to find a “professional” to help transfer title in Texas? Would this be an attorney, a title company, or a landman?

By transferring title in Texas, are you referring to mineral title only?

If so, and you are the Seller, my business advice would be let the Buyer prepare the document and hire an Oil and Gas attorney (preference 1) or a Real Estate attorney (preference 2), to review the document.

Good luck on that.

Buddy Cotten

I’m looking for a contract landman that could do mineral title research to find out who owns the minerals on our family ranch. It’s located in Henderson County, Texas.