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Question
Marsha,

Thank you for the service you offer. My question is concerning mineral executive rights. Mom died and left the ownership of her minerals in LaSalle County, Tx. to her two heirs, but a few months before that she had joined a family LLC and had transferred the executive rights over to it. A lease came thereafter. Now that the heirs own the minerals, who has executive rights for any future leasing, the new owners or the LLC. I do not have any copies of any paperwork because it was all done by a person with p.o.a. and did not share any of it.

Answer
Mineral rights normally include the right to negotiate and sign an oil and gas lease, called "executive" or "executory" rights.  It is possible that your mother signed a conveyance document transferring only the right to negotiate and sign an oil and gas lease but not the right to receive royalties attached to the mineral rights, but that action is very rare.  To clarify, are you saying that she specifically stated in her Will that the two beneficiaries were to receive all royalties, rents and bonuses but not be allowed to negotiate and sign any oil and gas leases?  Did the conveyance document she signed transferring what you are calling the executive rights to the family LLC specifically say that it transferred only the right to negotiate and sign an oil and gas lease, but no right to receive the bonus, rentals, and/or royalties?  Or was her Will written and signed before she conveyed to the family LLC?  The specific language in the granting clause in the conveyance document your mother signed determines what rights were conveyed, and therefore, what rights she died still owning and could bequeath in the Will.

You say you don't have copies of any of the paperwork, but in Texas the transfer of a real property interest must be done by a signed and notarized conveyance document ("deed" of some kind) that is filed of record in the county deed records to make the transfer binding and legal.  That means that a copy of the conveyance document that your mother signed must be found in the deed records of LaSalle County, Texas, for the family LLC to be vested of the rights.  You can use an online deed records database such as www.countyrecords.com to find a copy of the filed deed that you can download as a PDF for $4.00.  That particular online database has all records in it from the beginning of its county history through September 5, 2014.  Follow the instructions on the website to establish an account, then in the search page enter your mother's name as Grantor and click "search". If it was not filed of record before your mother's death, the probate attorney should be questioned whether the family LLC filed a claim with the court in order to clear their title.

If you would like for me to take a look at that conveyance and tell you how I would process it if I received it as a division order analyst in order to change company records based on it, just send me the volume and page or official records instrument number (if no volume & page) to marshab at oilpatchpress dot com and I will download a copy and take a look at it for you.  I would be able to tell you who, as a division order analyst, I would credit the right to sign an oil and gas lease if it was my employer and who I would credit to receive royalties if paid by my employer.  Apart from that, you would need to seek the advice of an attorney.  

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Marsha Breazeale, M.Ed., CDOA, CPLTA

Expertise

All questions regarding division orders; ownership decimal calculations; title ownership and payer record changes (testate/intestate inheritance; deed; assignment; court order); oil and gas lease analysis for record-keeping and purposes of payment by operator or payer; pooling, horizontal wells, horizontal well allocation units; unclaimed property reporting; royalty owner relations questions. All questions concerning administration of surface land contracts and payment questions, such as for Surface Right-of-Way, Sub-Surface Right-of-Way, Easement, Surface Use Agreement. All questions regarding industry-standard and company-specific policies that affect land owners.

Experience

Sr. Staff Division Order Analyst. Certified Division Order Analyst (CDOA, National Association of Division Order Analysts) and Certified Lease Analyst (CPLTA, National Association of Professional Lease and Title Analysts) with 35 years of experience as a combination division order analyst and lease analyst in exploration and production in the oil and gas industry.

Organizations
National Assoc. of Division Order Analysts (NADOA), National Association of Division Order Analysts (NALTA), American Association of Professional Landmen (AAPL), American Society of Trainers and Developers (ASTD)

Publications
"How an Oil & Gas Exploration & Production Company Operates" and "Principles of Oil & Gas Lease Analysis: Standard Clauses", Oil Patch Press; Articles in NADOA Magazine; LandFocus EDU Professional Training Manuals

Education/Credentials
B.A.in Management from Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio; M.Ed. in Instructional Design from WGU Texas.

Past/Present Clients
Past 15 years: GeoSouthern Energy Corporation; Contango Oil Co./Crimson Exploration & Operating Inc.; Apache Corporation; BP America; Marathon Oil; Newfield Exploration

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