Hi, my name is John T. Anderson. Welcome to my blog! I have been practicing law in California since 1975 and have been the Chairman of the Estate Planning and Probate Section of the Long Beach Bar Association since the mid-1980s. I'm also certified by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization as a specialist in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law. On this blog, you will find articles written by me regarding estate planning and probate in California. Many of these articles address recent changes in the law and summaries of the Long Beach Bar Association’s Estate Planning and Probate Section meetings. I hope that you find these articles helpful. If you would like more information about me or my law office, please visit my website at or contact my office at 562.424.8619.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Oil and Mineral Rights: What do you do when there is no deed or legal description for the property?

A recent exchange between estate planners is of interest to those of us whose practice involves estates and real property in the greater Long Beach area where many clients retain oil and mineral rights in property.

On occasion, the client does not have a deed or legal description for the property. One attorney had success with the Los Angeles County Assessor’s Mapping Division (213) 974-7352. The next step was the Los Angeles County Assessor’s Mineral Rights Division (213) 974-3108. He was greatly assisted. One thing he learned was that APN’s only apply to surface interests and not to underground extraction rights.

Also discovered is that there is a form (PCOR) specifically for Oil and Mineral Rights entitled “Change in Ownership Statement - Oil and Gas Property” (form BOE-502-G, RP-980).

To acquire the legal description, others recommended starting with the oil company (rare); next a landman or title company.

In one situation we were told of, a landman concluded, for $4,000, the title was horribly convoluted. For an additional $30,000, the landman would write a determinative legal description.

Another thing to remember, whether you are putting oil and mineral rights into a living trust or administering a probate estate, is that there are two interests: There is 1) a leasehold interest (often assigned and often, improperly, the only interest taken through Probate); and, 2) the underlying ownership of the real property interest in the oil and mineral rights.

An assignment of the leasehold or royalty interest transfers only that and not ownership of the oil and mineral rights. The same is true of probate of only that interest.

                     John T. Anderson, Section Chair
                     LBBA Estate Planning, Probate, & Trust Section
                     Certified Specialist in Probate, Trust and Estate Planning
                     By the California State Bar Board of Legal Specialization

Copyright © 2014 by John T. Anderson
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