Many of us find ourselves at home or unable to work as usual during the social distancing imposed to stem the spread of the Coronavirus. From an attorney’s point of view here are a few things you should do during this period.
Update Addresses / Name Changes:
If your address or name has changed it is a good idea that you file this information with the county land records in each county in which you have a mineral interest. This can be a simple affidavit but it is a good idea to include legal descriptions to insure proper indexing. This is important whether or not you are currently receiving royalties.
Review Estate Plans:
Too often people fail to update their estate plan to accomplish their goals. Considerable headache and expense can be avoided by creating or updating an estate plan.
Trusts avoid probate but only for property properly titled. All too often individuals forget to deed minerals into their trusts. This is especially common when trusts are created in one state, but the minerals are owned in another.
Transfer on Death Deeds for those who have not created a Trust, a Transfer on Death Deed may be a great option. While they vary from state to state, a TOD generally avoids probate and is simple to set up. Understanding them is important so visit with an attorney in the state where the minerals are located. These are not for every situation.
**Powers of Attorney: ** If you become incapacitated you will need someone who has the authority to act on your behalf. If you don’t have a solid power of attorney nobody can manage or lease your minerals without a court order.
Wills do require probate but are relatively inexpensive to set up. If you have no Will your heirs will be stuck with intestacy statutes.
**Organize: ** Create a system that identifies where your minerals are located, the amount of minerals owned, leases and companies who are currently paying. Not only will this help you, but in the event of incapacity or death this makes management immensely easier for the family.