Years ago we deeded 1/2 of our royalty interest in a Texas property to someone. Her heir recently sold her interest to a “land company” who solicits owners once the land is known to be producing. Now $200,000 is being held from us in suspense and the new “land company” is claiming 100% ownership (both our 1/2 and the 1/2 previously deeded).
They read the deed as having transferred our entire ownership. If anyone knows of a precedent to support our claim we could really use it within the next two days, or we have to give up our entire inheritance to this company.
Deed wording: ROYALTY DEED “ALL MEN BY THESE PRESENTS: THAT WE …have granted, sold, conveyed, assigned and delivered, and by these presents do GRANT, SELL, CONVEY, ASSIGN and deliver unto “Cruella” … an undivided one-half (1/2) interest in and to all of the oil, gas and other minerals in and under, and that may be produced from the following described land…”
There are several attorneys listed in the directory above.
We thought we were deeding half of our 1/32 royalty interest. Apparently the wording in the deed was faulty and now we lose all of it.
Thanks so much for responding.
I’m not a lawyer, but suggest you document your title chain, and compare the three legal description of:
(a) original deed when you/your family acquired the interest, presumably 100% of minerals.
(b) your deed conveying 1/2 to the woman, should clearly state 1/2,
© the deed in which the heir sold the late woman’s interest to the land company.
If you did not convey 100% in (b), it should be evident in the three documents, would try to reason with the buyer, and get a lawyer.
Did you have an attorney prepare the deed? If so, then you should consult him about the language. Otherwise you should consult another Texas title attorney to be sure about your situation. Deeds are always interpreted as a whole document and so the determination of what was sold depends on reading all the language, not just one phrase or sentence. There have been a lot of cases in Texas regarding deed interpretation and in many cases there have been unintended consequences - sometimes against the seller and sometimes against the buyer. The courts have not been inclined to interpret deeds by outside information, but instead only look at the language of the deed. The language that you have attached seems to state that you were selling 1/2 of all of the minerals in the tract, as opposed to 1/2 of the minerals which are owned by the seller. But this could be limited by any additional language reserving minerals to the seller or maybe describing what you owned and were selling. This is a serious warning to mineral owners who think that they can just prepare their own legal documents or who simply sign what is presented to them.
Depending on what you owned beforehand the wording that you listed above could in fact cover all of your interests. If and only if you owned an undivided 1/2 interests to begin with. In stating "an undivided one-half (1/2) interest in and to all of the oil, gas and other minerals in and under, and that may be produced from the following described land…” that is granting the rights to 1/2 of whatever was stated in the deed. If the intent was to only deed 1/2 of YOUR interest then the wording would have needed to say something along the lines of, "an undivided one-half (1/2) of GRANTOR’S interest in and to all of the oil, gas and other minerals in and under, and that may be produced from the following described land…” I am a landman and not an attorney so I’m not sure what can be done for this, but only speak as to what I have seen in my experience.
The deed language is not in your favor. You should search for other paperwork you have concerning the transaction that can confirm that the “intent” was to sell only 1/2 of your interest, not a 1/2 interest.
Does anyone know of a precedent ruling in favor of us having signed the “faultily” worded deed?
You stated that you only owned 1/32 of the total, but the deed purported to convey 1/2 of the minerals in the tract. You essentially over conveyed your interest and short of you getting with the current purchaser and pleading your case there is not much you can do. This is called the Duhig rule and is in place to protect buyers.
Complicating matters even more, if you purchase or acquire more interest in this tract, the after acquired title doctrine could automatically pass this interest to the buyer up to 1/2 of the minerals in the tract. It is an unfortunate situation and one that reiterates that if you are not familiar with property law that you should always consult and attorney when preparing documents.