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Virginia Moore

Virginia Moore’s Answers

12 total


  • Oil leasing. Which chain of title is superior?

    I'm running mineral title on a tract in Reeves Cty, TX. In the early title, the owner defaulted on a Deed of Trust ("1st chain of title"). It disappeared from the indices until several years later when same land was Patented to a different owner...

    Virginia’s Answer

    While I agree with the prior answer that this is a situation where an O&G attorney is going to have to review title to determine, I do sympathize that you are charged with getting all the documents together.

    A receiver's deed probably indicates a bankruptcy being filed. The Bankruptcy typically would be filed to stop a foreclosure on the default. You will need to review the records of the bankruptcy court for the federal district in which the owner had his/her domicile (not necessarily county where property is located). May have to check several counties if there were multiple owners. Try to find the district details by reviewing the Receiver's Deed which should make some reference to where and when the Receiver was appointed. Bankruptcies can take several years to resolve so it may have been ongoing between the date of default and the Receiver's Deed.

    I don't know when separate bankruptcy courts were established, but they have exclusive jurisdiction now - maybe not the time frame you are examining. If title was confirmed through a bankruptcy (which is federal jurisdiction) and subsequently conveyed by the Receiver, that title may take priority although it raises issues of sovereignty as a result of the state's re-patent of the land to a new party.

    You should be able to look up the state's title file for the subsequent Patent in the General Land Office files. Google General Land Office and if you have trouble, give them a call. There should be a patent number involved which relates to a file. Good luck -

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  • Do I need a attorney to check into the land and make sure my family and I are getting our fair share

    I found out that I am an heir to some land in Kenedy Texas. A energy company discovered it and will be drilling from it. They sent a paid up oil lease to my siblings and myself stating I'll get 20% royalty.

    Virginia’s Answer

    The oil company through its landman (not technically an employee in most instances) want to you think you just sign and get 20%. All the terms are negotiable, including the 20%. We all would recommend you delete the warranty of title and modify several other provisions if you are inclined to sign. There's also the issue of per acre bonus payments you didn't mention. If they are trying to get a lease at this stage of the game, it may be because they missed you the first time around and you may be entitled to collect as an unleased mineral interest holder. If that's the case, the worse thing you could do is sign. I agree with one of the other attorneys - contact a board-certified O,G&Minerals attorney. You can find one here: www.tbls.org.

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  • Do I need a lawyer to transfer ownership of oil royalty property to out-of-state heirs?

    I am an Independent Executor in TX. The will was probated in one TX county but the oil property is in another TX county.

    Virginia’s Answer

    A copy of a will that disposes of real property, when filed in the county records as part of an exemplified copy of the entire record probated in one TX county, will also transfer property in other TX counties. That being said, the description of the property must be sufficient to meet the statute of frauds in TX. The process is best handled by an attorney familiar with the requirements of the Estates and Property Codes. Many prefer to prepare Personal Representative's Distribution Deeds to be filed in the counties where real property is being transferred by the will as this avoids privacy concerns raised by filing the entire probate record.

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  • All of Section 13, Block C-26 PSL Ab# 1294 Loving County except NE qtr. (418ac) If you understand this, I want to talk to you.

    Our family has many O&G leases but they are all renewals and were all ORRIs originating in the 40s and 50s. Those leases never change and their terms all the same. This new offer is for an undeveloped parcel we didn't even know we had. I have no ...

    Virginia’s Answer

    You can locate a Texas Board Certified Oil & Gas Attorney at www.tbls.org. All will know how to read the legal and advise you on how to best trace your ownership. Our firm offers a flat rate service to identify the property and provide an overview of the permitting and production in the immediate vicinity (along with information about the operators active in the area so you can know if you are being contacted by someone actually seeking to drill a well). This Overview provides the necessary information for you to value your negotiation power in dealing with unsolicited offers. We also will review the proposed lease and prepare an addendum to address the changes which should be made to protect your interest. We will be happy to assist.

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  • 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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