Owning land does not necessarily equate to owning the mineral rights. While the majority of land sold will have mineral rights attached to the sale, there are cases when past sales have not included rights to the underlying minerals. Finding out who owns your mineral rights can be a daunting task in some cases. However, there are a plethora of methods that will allow you to determine if you are the owner of the minerals, or if another party retains the minerals.
The county clerk’s office will have records of all land sales that have taken place. These records will be the first stop in determining who owns your minerals. The goal is to locate the property owned and start chaining together the sale of the land with its mineral rights attached. Starting from the first sale of the land, a person will want to map out every sale and its corresponding mineral rights.
Index books will be used to determine the chain of title. These indexes are the legal description of the property owned. With these indexes, a person will be able to track their parcel of land throughout the entirety of its ownership. The search for ownership records must be done diligently to ensure that there are no gaps in the chain of title. This can be difficult with divorces, foreclosures and various other methods in which land may be acquired, but not necessarily sold.
Certain records may include legal aspects of a sale that indicate that the entirety or portion of the land’s mineral rights will remain that of the sellers. This is where it can become rather difficult to discern who owns the mineral rights. In most cases, these rights will be entirely separate from the surface estate and will still be retained from the seller.
Scouring through titles and deeds can be a daunting task. For a non-professional, this can lead to missing title links that will need to be filled in or misinterpretations of legal matters. Professional searches can be done that will scour through all of the titles and sales documents to determine if you are the owner of the mineral rights. When valuable minerals are under your land, this is the safest and easiest route of determining if you actually own the minerals or if they were separate from the surface estate during the sale of the property.