Question for everyone . . .
I've been receiving messages from a handful of oil companies offering to purchase only my mineral acres (1/3rd) but not the physical land, which I'm not interested in doing, period. However, it was brought to my attention today that another branch of the family, who owns 1/6 of the property (physical and mineral), sold only their undivided mineral interest.
I thought an undivided interest meant they couldn't sell their content without consent of the rest of the shareholders because it impacts the other family member's shares. Can this be done? Can they sell their portion of the undivided mineral interest in the property without the consent of the rest of the family?
Hello Ms. Rose,
It depends. Is the interest help in some sort of entity (company, partnership, trust, etc.)? If so, then those formation documents govern all parties actions.
Or, are the interests held by the individual family members, and if so, are they subject to a life estate, rights of survivorship, or maybe some sort of agreement between the parties? If they are held as individual fee interests, then they can do what they wish with their interest. If they are fee interests that are subject to a life state, right of survivorship, or some sort of agreement, this MAY affect their ability to transfer, although it may not. It just depends.
An undivided interest simply means you, as well as other people, own an interest into the same tract of land, more or less. For example, say you and I buy, or inherit a 40 acre tract of land. Surface and minerals in fee ownership. I can sell, lease, mortgage, etc. my interest without your consent, and so can you. Now, if we have some sort of agreement in place, we could, say, give each other the first right of refusal. This could be enforceable. Or maybe we created a partnership to buy this tract, then that partnership document governs our transaction and may limit our ability individually to do anything.
I hope that explanation is helpful for you.
The property has been willed down to surviving family members. In my grandfather, grandmother, and sister's will, the clause read something to the effect that land could be willed to surviving family members. Now, I'd have to go back to see what my great grandparent's will stated. However, I think it also willed the property to be handed down to surviving family.
You will need to look at those wills, but what you seem to be describing is a "fee tail," which are generally not enforceable in Texas. From what I recall, they need to be limited in duration; however, I just simply have not had to deal with this, so I really do not have an answer. When you do happen to read the will(s), look for language that says something like, "heirs of my body" or any language that explicitly says family members cannot transfer their interests outside of the family. If it does, you probably need to consult an attorney. Otherwise, I'd think they could convey without consent, but that is just my uninformed opinion based off what you have shared.