This is the next article in our series on the types of real estate deeds in Oklahoma.  In the last post, we discussed the Oklahoma Transfer-on-Death Deed, along with its advantages and disadvantages.  This post will dive into another type of deed that is heavily used across Oklahoma – a mineral deed.

What are the differences between Surface and Mineral rights in Oklahoma?

Before getting into mineral deeds, let’s discuss the types of land rights.  In Oklahoma, there are two major categories of land rights, surface rights and mineral rights.  Surface rights allow you to build on or farm on the surface of the land, while mineral rights allow you to explore and develop minerals below the surface.  Just like you can sell or lease your surface rights to individuals or businesses, you can do the same with mineral rights.

If one party owns both the surface and mineral rights, then they are said to own a unified estate.  When mineral rights have been severed from the land, you are said to have a split estate.

Buying or inheriting a tract of land doesn’t always guarantee you have both surface and mineral rights.  An owner of a unified estate may choose to sell all or a portion of the mineral rights to you, or he may sell the mineral rights to you and surface rights to another.

What are Oklahoma Mineral Deeds and how do they work?

An Oklahoma mineral deed is a legal document that is used to convey mineral interest in a land – it may contain a warranty of title, or could just be a quitclaim deed without title warranty.  This deed is prepared and executed just like any other deed.

The way it works is that after conveyance, the mineral interest is severed from the surface interest.  The mineral rights holder not only has the rights to extract and sell the minerals but is also allowed reasonable surface access to enter, use, and develop the land to extract those minerals.  Additionally, the rights holder may lease the property to another party to extract the minerals.  The rights remain with the owner after the lease with the third party expires.

It’s important to differentiate a mineral deed from a royalty deed.  As previously discussed, the holder of a mineral deed has the right to develop and extract the minerals from below the surface.  These rights generally come with fewer restrictions and offer more rights.

Conversely, a royalty deed gives no rights to its holder to access the surface or to enter and develop the land for mineral extraction.  The only way the royalty owners will benefit from the land is through receipt of a percentage of the profits from the sale of the minerals, if and when that happens.

OKC Real Estate Attorney

If you need legal counsel for a transactional real estate matter or for a litigation matter, we are here to help.  We will assist you in navigating the legal nuances from start to finish and give your matter the attention it deserves.  Contact us online or by telephone to get in touch with a real estate law firm and to speak to an OKC real estate lawyer.