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Virginia Moore

Virginia Moore’s Answers

8 total

  • I received a contract to allow an oil and gas company in Texas to lease my land. Is it legitimate?

    I own 10 acres of land in west Texas and received a contract in the mail from a well know oil and gas company in Texas. They want to pay me 3000.00 per acre and 1/4 royalty. My question is Why would the state of Texas receive 1/2 the money? I live...

    Virginia’s Answer

    It's often not worth the effort to determine exactly what you own when you are being approached for a lease. Just be sure to secure assistance in modifying the lease form to exempt the transaction from any warranty of title and specify that you will be paid for the amount of acreage you are ultimately determined to own. I add a clause that there is no obligation to repay any overage in bonus if the Lessor is found to own less acreage, but if found to own more, the bonus will be adjusted and the excess paid. Operators typically don't prepare formal abstracts of title until after a well is drilled and is determined to be productive. You can add a provision to the lease to require that you be provided a copy of the abstract, as well as numerous other provisions to protect your interests. You are well advised to work with a Texas O&G attorney. You can find those who are Board Certified in this field at www.tbls.org. This is not meant to constitute legal advice.

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  • Should I use a lawyer to negotiate the sell of my mineral rights and how do I find the proper lawyer?

    I own the minerals to a property in Texas and a real estate agent and the property owner have been trying to get me to sign a surface waiver. They first offered me lunch then $500 to sign it. I told them I would not sign it but would consider sel...

    Virginia’s Answer

    By all means, please consult with an attorney before signing a surface waiver or selling your mineral rights. The surface is subordinate to the mineral estate. It can be completely destroyed if necessary without compensation to the surface owner once minerals are severed or surface rights granted. The small amount you've been offered will not compensate you for the damages you are likely to incur. Since you are in the Houston area, it is likely that your property lies in what is known as the Eagle Ford Shale Play. Wells producing thousands of barrels of oil are common. Your mineral rights could be very valuable. You can find a Board Certified attorney in Oil & Gas by going to www.tbls.org (Texas Board of Legal Specialization). Perhaps surprisingly, unless you prefer to meet in person, you can use any attorney in Texas. Board certified attorneys practice throughout the state and have experience in all the producing areas. Best wishes to you.

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  • A land man came to see me about leasing my minerals on 14 acres. How do I find out if I own any minerals?

    I didn't think I owned any minerals. If they land man pays me for royalties and then I find out later I didn;t own anything, can they take the money back.

    Virginia’s Answer

    I don't recommend you incur a lot of expense researching ownership yourself - the more important thing in my opinion is to check the language of the lease you are being asked to sign. It will contain a "warranty of title" - if left unmodified, you will be liable to reimburse the bonus and any royalties if it turns out that a landman made a mistake in getting your signature at all (or the interest he claims you own). Generally, initial lease offers are not based on full abstracts of title and mistakes are not uncommon. The abstract of title which will verify your ownership will be prepared by the Operator (through an abstract attorney) at the time Division Orders are prepared and forwarded (not done until AFTER a well has been drilled and determined to be capable of production). You can negotiate in your lease that you don't have to sign a Division Order, but otherwise Texas statutes allow an operator to hold royalties until you sign and return. I like my clients to get Division Orders as it allows us to verify ownership and the correct computation of Decimal Interest in a pool early in the life of the well. As you can tell from the answer, the effort I do recommend is the stage of negotiating the terms of the lease you are being presented and the amount both of the bonus (initial payment) and the percent of royalties you will receive. There are other terms equally important and retaining an attorney to advise you at this stage is definitely something that can make a significant difference to you over the life of a lease.

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  • What should I do if a company wants to lease my property to check for oil ?

    When My father was a boy he saw oil in lake .We believe we have oil on our 50acr in East,Texas. We are sitting still until we make a good decision. We have had three companies send letters of intrest, . Can you help guid us. Thanks

    Virginia’s Answer

    There are a number of significant oil and gas plays in the United States right now. East Texas is home to the Haynesville Shale Play which has been active for the last 4-5 years. Without knowing exactly where your property is, I can't offer you any information regarding its proximity to the "hot areas" but you should not ignore the landmen inquiries you are receiving. Bonus rates and royalty rates have increased significantly recently. Oil and gas leases used to offer a uniform 1/8 royalty - royalties now run between 1/5 and 1/4 (20-25%) and various other terms in the lease are negotiable to be the benefit of the lessor (mineral owner). I'd suggest you contact an oil & gas attorney to help you review your options and assist in negotiating the best terms (including restrictions on surface use if you reside on the property).

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  • Is the automatic renewal clause in my natural gas lease valid?

    I have a lease with a natural gas company on my farm. At the end of the lease is a clause providing for it to automatically renew after the 5 year primary term. Price per acre has gone up since the original contract, so I would rather this lease l...

    Virginia’s Answer

    While I do not practice in your state and would recommend that you consult an oil and gas attorney to review your lease, these clauses are usually enforceable when negotiated at the inception of a "paid-up" lease where they form part of the consideration to the operator. If the initial bonus payment was for the first year's rental only and the lease calls for delay rentals to be paid on an annual basis and such payments hve not been made in a timely manner, you may cause to challenge whether the lease (and the automatic renewal) lapsed.

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  • OIL AND GAS LEASE

    I SIGNED A GAS AND OIL LEASE. AND MY QUESTION CONCERNS THE ROYALTY PARAGRAPH WHICH STATES . LESSORS ROYALTY SHALL BE LESS THE LESSORS PRORATED SHARE OF ANY TAXES LEVIED ON THE OIL AND/ OR GAS. I DO NOT UNDERSTAND THE TERM [ LESSORS PRORATED SHARE ...

    Virginia’s Answer

    I do not practice in your state so you will need to confirm this with an oil / gas attorney in PA. Generally this clause deals with severance and other state taxes. As an accountant friend of mine once stated, "I'll be glad to take your income and pay the taxes on it as I will still be ahead." I can't imagine a situation where the taxes would exceed the income. All that being said, you would be wise to either retain an attorney to review your lease and educate you on its terms or you may want to join a group, such as the National Association of Royalty Owners (http://www.naro-us.org), to take advantage of some of the educational opprotunities they offer. As a royalty owner, your interest will be long-term and the more you know and understand the better.

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  • My dad deeded 1/2 acre to me. My mother did not sign the deed just my father. Is this deed legal even though my mom

    did not sign the deed? Do I own this 1/2 Acre of Land?

    Virginia’s Answer

    Re Additional Information -

    Mother's death means that her one-half share would pass either (1) under her will (if she died with a will) to the beneficiaries named in the will or (2) via intestacy (dying without a will) to her heirs-at-law. If you are a beneficiary under the will, you may be able to work with the Executor and the other beneficiaries of the will to trade for the other half of this property in lieu of other bequests to you. May be handled via a Family Settlement Agreement. You otherwise would have to buy out the beneficiary(ies) that receive the interest or otherwise remain as tenants in common with each of them on a prorata basis.

    If your mother died without a will, same would generally apply as to the heirs-at-law. Probate would be handled differently in an intestacy situation.

    You need a wills, trust and estate attorney for assistance in negotiating for the other half and a real estate attorney to advise re rights and responsibilities as to ownership as a tenant in common (if you are unable to negotiate to acquire the other half). You should be able to deal with one attorney who handles both types of law as they are related areas of law.

    There are responsibilities associated with the upkeep, maintenance and taxes on the property that need to be handled on an ongoing basis. If you are unable to acquire the remainder, you need to know how to handle with the people who succeed in interest to your mother's half. Assuming it is a valuable piece of property, you don't want to not maintain it or pay the taxes and have it lost to a tax or maintenance lien. That doesn't benefit anyone.

    Again, this is informational in nature as I cannot render legal advice in this forum and with limited facts. Hope it helps point you in the right direction.

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  • My dad deeded 1/2 acre to me. My mother did not sign the deed just my father. Is this deed legal even though my mom

    did not sign the deed? Do I own this 1/2 Acre of Land?

    Virginia’s Answer

    The deed is binding against the interest your father owned in the land. I assume that your parents also reside in the State of Texas. Texas is a community property state, so unless your parents have entered into an agreement to separate their respective interests in this property, your mother would still own one half interest in the property, making you and your mother tenants in common. You do have certain rights as well as duties in dealing with the property when you share ownership in this manner.

    This answer is provided for general information only and does not constitute legal advice pursuant to an attorney-client relationship. If you cannot negotiate with your mother to acquire her interest in the property, you would be well advised to discuss the matter with a local real estate attorney who can advise you as to dealing with the property (paying taxes, using as a residence, renting out, etc.).

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