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What’s the Difference Between a Surface Estate vs. Mineral Estate?

When purchasing a piece of land, it’s important to understand the difference between the surface estate and mineral estate. The surface estate includes everything above ground, such as the land itself, trees, and buildings. On the other hand, the mineral estate refers to the rights to any resources that may be found below ground, such as oil, gas, and minerals.

Purchasing Land

Surface estates are much more common than mineral estates. This is because most people (outside of Texas) are not interested in owning the resources below ground – they just want the land itself. However, if you are interested in owning the mineral rights to a piece of land, it’s important to reserve them when you purchase the property.

In Texas, if a mineral estate is not reserved, it passes to the new buyer of the property. This is important to keep in mind, especially if you consider purchasing a piece of land that already has a structure built. The surface estate would include the house and everything else on the property, while the mineral estate would only include the resources below ground.

Why is a Mineral Estate Best?

In Texas, the mineral estate is considered separate and distinct from the surface estate. This means that the mineral estate can be bought and sold separately from the surface estate. The mineral estate owner has exclusive rights to any and all minerals located beneath the land’s surface.

The owner of the surface estate, on the other hand, has the right to use and access the surface of the land but does not have any rights to the minerals underneath. This can be important for landowners who want to sell their property, as it allows them to sell the surface estate while retaining ownership of the mineral estate.

The difference between a surface estate and a mineral estate can be important for landowners in Texas interested in drilling for oil or gas on their property. By understanding the differences between the two, landowners can make sure they retain ownership of the mineral estate and get the consent of the owner of the mineral estate before drilling.

The law related to surface and mineral estates can be complex, but we’re here to help. Please do not hesitate to call us at (432) 284-4411 to speak with our attorneys.