Trust Distribution of Mineral Rights

I am the trustee for my mother’s trust. My mother is deceased. My 2 brothers and I decided to split 3 80 acre parcels last year. Two are in OK and one is in Terry County, TX. I (the trust) received an oil & gas lease early in 2011 for the Terry County land. By calling the county office, I found out the surface rights had been deeded to my brother but the mineral rights were still in the trust. I called my lawyer’s office who eventually sent me paperwork to distribute the mineral rights into equal 1/3 to me and my brothers. I questioned him on this and he said it was the only way he has ever done it in 30 years of practice. My mother’s family which is where the land came from has always let the mineral rights be the same ownership as the surface rights. The TX land is the only land that looks promising for oil & gas leasing currently. I would like to hear how other families have handled this.

I am one of three children. We have our own surface tracts, but we chose to leave the minerals undivided. We each own an undivided 1/3 of the minerals under each other's tracts. The logic is if there is production we will all share it in equally.

I know two brother's who did the opposite when their parents' estate was divided. They got 100% of the minerals with their individual surface. One brother got a barnburner gas well in the 1980s and the other brother received nothing. There were hard feelings as a result. The brother who never got a well on his land had a multitude of health problems and could have really used the money. He regretted to the day that he died not keeping an undivided 1/2 mineral interest in his brother's tract. Of course hindsight is 20/20, but he made a decision that he had to live with and the brother who got all the money didn't share any of it with him.

Your decision will depend upon your authority as trustee. If you have the authority to divide the minerals in 3 equal shares, as the lawyer suggested, it is fair to all of you if there is production in the future. Each person is free to lease their own share. However, there is power in numbers and you have greater bargaining power whenever you are in agreement regarding leasing.

I hope this helps.

There are advantages & disadvantages to each method.

The great advantage to indivdual ownership is that you can do whatever the hell you please with it.

I own 3/4 the minerals on a real small tract & have been negotating to buy the other 1/4 for months w/ 2 brothers.

Negotations seemed confusing, so I finally ask 1 brother what did his brother think of the last offer & he said he wouldnt know since he hadnt talked to his brother in 35 years. And I'm trying to buy their interest.

And I once bought a 10 acre tract next to my property that had over 125 owners. The problem with having to deal with that many owners is that they may be dying off about as quick as you can sign them up, or you end up having to deal w/ some minor children.

I just think you can get mineral interests too fractionalized & 50 yrs down the road you may not even be able to locate all the owners