What You Should Know about Mineral Rights

Law Blog

When you own property, you should be aware of exactly what property rights you have. In some cases, this may include mineral rights, which has to do with any minerals that exist under your land, such as oil. If someone has confronted you and mentioned they want to drill under your land, you will need to know about mineral rights and whether or not you own rights to the minerals underneath your property. Here is more information about your rights and what you can do if someone tries to drill for oil.

Do You Always Have Mineral Rights?

Just because you own the property that is above the minerals, does not mean you own the minerals beneath them. In fact, mineral rights are usually sold separately from property rights in a lot of cases. When you buy a home, you only have rights to that home, unless it specifically states that mineral rights are included. If you want mineral rights, you need to pay an additional fee for them. This means if you have property with oil underneath and you never purchased those mineral rights, whoever owns the minerals can drill and profit from whatever they find. There will be some exceptions, including the types of minerals include in their owned rights. Minerals usually extracted are oil, coal, and natural gas, though they might also own rights for silver and gold.

When Do the Rights Get Separated?

If you find out after buying your property that you don't maintain ownership of mineral rights, there was a separation of these rights at some point. Mineral rights used to be automatically included as part of property rights, but in many cases, the ownership was separated at some point. This may have been done for several reasons. One reason is if someone doesn't want to live in their home and would like to sell it, but they still want the option to convey the land at a later date if they have reason to believe there are minerals there.

Can You Find out Who Owns the Minerals?

Unless you have someone approach you and let you know they are going to convey your land for minerals, this may never come up. It can be complicated and expensive to find out who exactly has mineral rights on your land, and it isn't usually important. The only time you really need to know who has these rights is if someone wants to convey your land, or if you find minerals underneath your property and need to make sure you can legally profit from it. It will probably never be an issue unless minerals found are abundant and/or valuable, such as finding oil or gold.

Do Any Laws Protect You?

One thing to be aware of is that if someone who has mineral rights for your property conveys the area, they are not allowed to damage your property, nor can they interfere with improvements made on the land. If the minerals are directly underneath your home or other owned buildings, they can't tear anything down in order to gain access to the minerals. This is when you might need a lawyer (like those at Franklin & Rapp), because their conveying tactics might be putting your home and other owned buildings at risk.


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Business Law Basics: What Small Business Owners Need to Know

When I started my first small business, I had no idea how much I really didn’t know. I was fully prepared to deal with customers, sell product and even handle complaints and returns. What I wasn’t aware of was that there is so much more to it. I was lacking the legal expertise to protect the company and myself. I wanted others to benefit from my experience, mistakes and lessons learned, so I started this blog. From employment law to the legal business contracts you’ll have to sign when you form partnerships, business law is complex. I hope that the information here will help you to be better prepared when you start your business so that you’ll know when you need to call an attorney and when you can handle things yourself.