Why should the spouse sign a lease pro forma?

If one spouse owns the property as sole and separate property, why should the other spouse sign pro forma? If, after signing the lease this way, the owner dies and his spouse inherits his separate property, does the oil co have to sign a new lease with the spouse or has this already been satisfied by signing the lease "pro forma"? Thank you.

In my opinion only the spouse whose sole and separate property it is should sign the lease.

When the owner dies the lease which follows the land is unaffected.

After the owner passes, a will or the laws of intestacy / inheritance will decide who owns the land subject to the lease.

Having a non-owner sign the lease potentially muddies the water, possibly could interrupt the payment of royalty and in my personal and family members case lead to unnecessary legal expenses to bring a quiet title action.

In my opinion nothing good for you can come of having a non-owner sign the lease.

I should also have mentioned that looking at the situation from the other direction, if it is your intent to communitize the property, do so with making a new deed so there is no gray area.

Thanks. I appreciate it sir. I see your point that non-owners should not sign although I suppose a non-owner signing "pro forma" would more likely be construed as taking the position that he/she does not own the minerals.


Very good points for consideration!

If the language of the lease is sole owner and separate property, why have anyone else sign the lease at all? If sole owner and separate property language is missing, that second person is signing a lease. Not so?

I understand you being a landman you don't want people to dig in their heels when your client for whatever reason wants a signature from each of a married couple whether it is community property or not, but I have to maintain that it isn't to the lessors advantage in the case of sole ownership of separate property.

I won't bore everyone with mine and my family's personal story but it involves suspense of royalty for 8 wells having produced in excess of one million barrels of oil since 2008 because someone signed an "acknowledgement" and a landman thought the acknowledgement might have conferred an interest. Lets say I'm in favor of erring on the side of caution and also that I see zero downside to the lessor if they do as I suggest.

Thank you.

To throw my two cents in, oil company lawyers likely want to ensure that the spouse signs because that spouse may have already obtained an interest in the property under the community property laws. Community property may be claimed by a spouse simply by comingled that interest with communal interest i.e. depositing money into a joint checking account. RW Kennedy is right about muddying the waters re: title however. Typically, I have a non-owner spouse simply sign as a consenting to the lease. Either way, you have to deal with a spouse that holds as a married person, holding separate property because of the potential that the spouse already has an interest. Hope this helps.

Makes sense. Thank you.

Right now dealing with an issue where great grandfathers wife signed a deed of sale where my great grandfather was selling surface only. The deed reserved the minerals....because the minerals were already severed and placed in a trust 2 years earlier. Great grandfather literally didn't have the minerals to convey so his wife could NOT possibly have gained an interest by signing the deed. That did not stop a landman from saying she did. Nor does pointing it out stop the oil company from placing your money in suspense until you clear it up. If it were just a net acre or so, not worth the effort. In my families case it's a substantial amount of acreage, probably 2,000 acres total and a couple dozen wells.

Point is, IF great grandpa had refused to have his wifes name on the deed, it would have saved aggravation, thousands of dollars of expense and millions of dollars being held in suspense for 8-9 years. Really longer if I had not come along and said you need to fix this before it gets 2 generations old and nobody knows the facts. The attorney who drew up the deed is available, he's 95 years old but practiced law into 2014.

Here is an example. The requirements vary from state to state.

The property is homestead and is the sole property of the wife. The husband would execute the lease "pro forma" because one spouse cannot burden the homestead without the joiner of the spouse, even though they have no title to the property.

If this were the situation and I was acquiring the lease on behalf of the Lessee, I would not buy the lease without the joiner of the lease by the homestead spouse. It is a deal killer to me. I would have bought a bad lease, even though I bought a lease from the record title owner.

Another example: In the good old days in Louisiana, the wife could not convey her property without the joiner of the spouse, since "wimmen could not bother their silly little heads with things like bidness."

Buddy Cotten