Title Opinions Establish The Legal Link In The Chain Of Title

Daren Brown
By Daren Brown | March 21, 2019
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The State of Texas has a rich history based not only in farming and ranching, but also in oil, gas and minerals. As you can imagine, there have been many transactions over the years for each tract of land, including transactions involving oil, gas and mineral rights. The critical link between the public record and persons desiring to acquire and develop oil and gas properties, explore for oil and gas, and market oil and gas production is provided through the process of title examination and opinion.

What is Title and Title Examination?

Title is basically the bundle of rights that constitute the ownership of a particular piece of property, including the surface, oil, gas and mineral rights. Title can also refer to a person’s evidence of his or her ownership to a particular piece of property. Examination of title is the process of reviewing and examining the title documents to prove title or ownership in property.

Why Are Title Opinions Necessary?

Oil and gas operators desire to acquire leases from the owners of oil and gas properties. Before paying large sums of money to acquire the leases, and most certainly before they drill wells, the operators want assurances that that they have a valid lease from the record owner, and they want to know what encumbrances to the property are in existence that might cause problems for them down the road. Thus, they need an opinion, a title opinion, setting forth this information.  

A title opinion is an attorney’s conclusions regarding the ownership and title of the land and the underlying minerals, based upon that attorney’s examination of the title documents for that particular tract of land. A title opinion is often in the form of a very detailed letter and includes many reservations, qualifications and exceptions based upon what the attorney sees of record in the county in which the property lies. If there are defects in the title, the attorney makes certain requirements that would bring the title up to the desired standard and correct the defects.  

Do I Need an Oil and Gas Lawyer?

The process of examining title and preparing a title opinion requires discipline, attention to detail and significant knowledge in many areas of law, including real property and probate, in addition to oil and gas. It is important to hire an attorney that has experience in title examination and title opinion writing. Darin W. Mitchell, with Stockard, Johnston & Brown, P.C., in Amarillo, Texas has conducted numerous title examinations and has written many title opinions for large, corporate oil and gas companies, and for individuals. Contact Stockard, Johnston, Brown & Netardus, P.C. today.

 
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photo credit: Paul Lowry via photopin cc

Topics: Oil, Gas & Energy