How to Find Who Owns Mineral Rights to My Property?
When you buy a property in the United States, you may get ownership of surface and/or mineral rights. However, it is also very common to get a right on everything on the surface of the land but no authority on minerals that might be present beneath it.
Property owners can also sell mineral rights to someone else, allowing the buyer to easily exploit and explore the minerals without restrictions.
If you have recently bought a property or have owned it for quite some time, it is imperative to know the rights you hold. This discourse shall discuss all the details on mineral rights and helps you answer the question, “who owns mineral rights to my property?”
What Are Mineral Rights?
Mineral rights mostly cover minerals such as coal, oil, and natural gas. Silver and gold are also considered under these rights, but that’s quite uncommon.
These rights give the owner complete authority to exploit the minerals and use them for their benefit. As a result, the landowner(s) feel encouraged to develop their land.
However, at times, the owner of the land may sell or separate mineral rights. For instance, they may choose to retain their rights to the minerals but transfer the land. Alternatively, the owner may keep the land but sell their mineral rights.
In another scenario, land and minerals can be sold to different parties. Unfortunately, there are multiple mineral rights scenarios; therefore, you need to be aware of each before you evaluate your own situation.
Who Owns Mineral Rights to My Property?
Suppose you own land but are unaware of the rights you have on it. In that case, it is imperative to find that out before anyone illegally practices their authority over your minerals.
If you have found minerals under your own land, your next step should be to find out whether you can use them for your benefit.
If the previous owner had already sold mineral rights to another property before selling you the land, you might not be able to exploit the resources present under your property. But how can you confirm that?
Luckily, there are many ways to find that out. Below we have shared them.
A Review of Tax Assessor’s Documents and County Records
Once you have discovered the county of your land, you can ask for a review of the county records and tax assessor’s documents. Then, visit the office with county records and perform a thorough title deed search to see the ownership of your property from start to end.
When an oil or gas company owns land at a certain time, they usually retain the mineral rights before selling the land. If that’s the case, you may find out your mineral rights with them.
Unfortunately, a title deed doesn’t clearly mention the status of mineral rights. But checking this document is a good way to kickstart your search.
Royalty deeds are documents that give the owner a right to collect a royalty on minerals found under their property. These deeds help transfer ownership from one owner to another.
You can find these deeds by contacting the previous landowner or the clerk’s office of the property’s county.
Loan Foreclosures and Defaults
The bank sometimes takes control of the property and its rights when a landowner fails to pay off the loan. And when the property is sold again in an auction, the bank usually forgets to transfer the mineral rights with the surface rights.
If this has ever happened to a property you own now, you may want to check the documents covering foreclosures and defaults.
Take Help From Title Companies
If you think you cannot find the owner of mineral rights, get help from title companies. They are specialized companies that charge a fee to help you determine whether you have mineral rights on your property.
They can get your official records and make your search simple and quick.
Visit the Courthouse
The local courthouse can also help you find a document related to your property’s mineral rights. However, you may struggle with this process as some documents are hard to find. Besides, you may have to locate the courthouse first, which can also be tough.
Once you have successfully located the courthouse, you might be asked to fill out a form and send a request before looking for a document.
Take Assistance from an Attorney
Many owners get into legal issues when finding out their rights on minerals under the property. If you want to avoid that, we suggest hiring an attorney.
A professional can help you authenticate deeds and find other relevant documents. Besides, they can save you a lot of time and work professionally but may charge a minimal fee for their services.
You can also take help from an attorney to solve a dispute over these rights. For instance, a lack of documents may push more than two parties to claim your mineral rights. To save yourself from benefiting from your valuable property, a professional may save you from all legal actions and obligations.
Your Next Move After Finding Your Mineral Rights
So, after you have found that the minerals under your land are yours, you should first value them. This is imperative so that you can earn a profit from these minerals by leasing the minerals to an oil and gas company or investing in developing the minerals for various projects.
However, if you find that you only have surface rights to your property, you can’t dig and exploit the minerals beneath the land. If you do, you may face legal consequences.
Do you own a property but don’t know if you can use the hidden gems, also known as minerals, found under the land? If yes, in the article above, we have helped you explore different ways to search for your mineral rights and only then practice them over your land.
Practicing mineral rights may prove harmful if you only have surface rights over your property. So, to avoid any bad consequences, follow the correct procedure.