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Decedent's Will says A receives "all my mineral rights in the oil wells in X county, Texas that are currently under lease with ABC Oil Company."  There's no problem with knowing what the word "currently" means because at the time of the Will execution and at the time of decedent's death the same leases were in effect.  There is a problem, however, with trying to figure out what "under lease with ABC Oil Company" means.  ABC is the operator on certain leases, but on one other lease another company is the operator and ABC is listed as the owner.  Does A get the interests where ABC is the operator, as well as the interest where ABC is not the operator but is the owner?  (If A doesn't get that one interest, it falls into the residuary.)

Operatorship is irrelevant.  The will stated that A receives "all my mineral rights in the oil wells in X county, Texas that are currently under lease with ABC Oil Company."  What is dispositive in this case is what is under lease - operations of the wells is not a factor.  

A will receive all mineral rights for rights leased to ABC Oil Co.

If we are being picky about the law - and some could be, when minerals are leased the lessor is no longer a mineral "owner" but are the owner of a royalty interest.  An oil and gas lease is a defeasible fee with possibility of reverter.  The oil company is the "owner" of the minerals until the lease expires or the habendem clause expires.



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Cliff Williams


I will try to answer any question you have. Even if I reject a question, I still will give a shot at what I would do in your position. The only questions I will not take a shot at would be a highly technical engineering or geological question. I am beginning to see quite a few questions from land men and other oil companies and that doesn't matter to me either. I will attempt to help.


I am an oil and gas attorney that has been in the business for more than 20 years. I have held a series 22 and 63 securities license, been in oil and gas operations, land man, division order analyst all prior to obtaining my law degree. Today, I typically write title opinions verifying ownership of oil and gas minerals, assist landowners in negotiations on oil, gas and mineral leases, easements and conveyances. I also assist oil and gas companies with the sale of working interest ownership as well as common business law issues.

State Bar of Texas, Member of the Tarrant County Bar and the Dallas County Bar Associations.

Multiple oil and gas topical columns on

I have a B.S. degree which I rely upon more than my Business Mgmt degree or Law degree...

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