Selling or Leasing Your Mineral Rights: Pros and Cons
The “fee simple estate,” which refers to the most basic type of private ownership in the United States, grants estate or property owners the following rights:
- Control over his/her property’s surface and subsurface; and,
- “Surface rights” and “mineral rights,” which extend to private ownership of, and the right to sell, lease, give as a gift or bequeath, all the minerals, such as oil, gas and valuable rocks found on or within the land that they own.
The greatest benefits of this “fee simple estate” may never have been felt before this time, particularly in the state of Texas, due to what many experts in the U.S. oil and natural gas industry identify as the “oil shale revolution.”
Oil shale is a type of sedimentary rock that is formed through the combination of silt and clay. It contains kerogen, a possible source of oil and gas. Through technological advances that enable the combination of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, more effective and increased extraction of oil and gas has been made possible; this has not only made the U.S. a major oil-producing country, but has also made her no longer dependent on imported energy.
The increased production of oil and gas benefits, in general, the U.S. economy and, in particular, owners of estates where shale may be abundant. With the hope of finding rich deposits of kerogen, big oil firms have offered many estate owners in various Texan counties hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars to have their mineral rights either sold or leased.
Leasing of mineral rights can mean big earnings over the years, on the assumption, of course, that the property is productive; if it isn’t, then the owner can kiss his/her chances of earning big, goodbye. A decision to sell mineral rights, however, means cash up front, the amount of which depends on where the property is situated (it is said that one company offered four million dollars to one family and an even higher amount to another to have their mineral rights sold). Selling of mineral rights is never dependent on whether the land is actually productive or not – the buyer still has to discover this. If an estate produces much less than expected or turns out to be unproductive, then such would be the loss of the buying company, which made the purchase, and not landowner’s or seller’s, who has already been paid the amount.
Despite the sure cash for those who will sell their mineral, gas or oil rights, many remain hesitant due to thoughts of the possibility that their estate is productive and so will make much more money over time. Well, some estates do turn out to be productive, others, however, after leasing their land, are told that it produces either too little or nothing at all, thus, they lose all the economic benefits they had dreamed of.
Besides cash up front, which sellers can use immediately or save for the rainy days or for emergencies, sellers also enjoy notable tax benefits (as different from those who lease their rights since money earned from leasing is treated as regular income). However, rather than negotiate directly with buyers, who can be tricky and lure sellers to what seems to be a huge deal, it may be better to scout for a really reliable and trustworthy mineral rights broker, whose aim is to help sellers get the most competitive and generous price for their gas, oil or mineral rights. To accomplish this, rather than approaching buyers individually, some mineral rights brokers put their sellers’ mineral rights up for auction for these to drive up the price.
Selling or leasing mineral rights both have advantages and disadvantages which estate owners may learn and understand more by consulting with a trustworthy mineral rights broker. One important thing to bear in mind is never to make any decision based on a buyer’s promises. Selling, or even leasing, involves a legal transaction. It would be wise to have legal counseling before entering into any of these.
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Slab Leak . . . Either Have It Immediately Fixed or Suffer Costly Damages to Your Home
Many homeowners take for granted their plumbing system; some do not even care about leaks until their water bill suddenly shoots up or until their plumbing system breaks down and stops giving them water. If it’s a slab leak, which occurs under the concrete foundation of a house, it will really be quite hard to notice, so homeowners may be spared from the blame; however, if it is a pinhole leak, which is leak above the floor, then people ought to notice it much faster and owe it to themselves to have the leak repaired immediately, otherwise, it will not only be pesky and destructive, but it can also cost homeowners hundreds of dollars in repair. Slab leaks can go undetected for months or even years, resulting to 2,000 to 20,000 gallons of clean water lost every year. Worse than this, however, is the destructive effect it can cause, that is damage weaken the foundation of a house and cause the development of mold, which is harmful to residents’ health. Though leaks are more common in older properties, newer properties can have problems too. Poor construction and corrosion and, in many cases, ground movement, which can cause unexpected pipe damage, are some of its causes. Thus, as soon as one supposes that there is a leak in his/her house’s plumbing system, the wisest thing to do is call in professional plumbers who have the right equipment in detecting, especially hidden leaks. Professional plumbers use electronic amplification equipment and an electromagnetic pipeline locator that will enable them to find the actual source of a leak. This will ensure least disruption to your property, faster repair time and lesser cost. Besides these benefits, their work also comes with a guarantee and except for the cost of the plumbing repair, insurance providers usually cover the cost of the leak detection service, line access and isolation, and dry out and restoration of the property to the condition before the leak occurred. For the least cost of repair it will be much better if the leak is minor; thus, to make sure that a leak never worsens, professional plumbers say that homeowners be wary of the signs of a possible leak. These include, besides a sudden increase in your water bill or electric bill (if a leak is in a hot water pipe):
- The water meter spinning at a higher rate than before, or the water heater running more often;
- Sound of running water even when all faucets are closed;
- Cracks in walls or floors; and,
- Mold or excessive moisture, especially under your carpet/s.
Have a leak fixed immediately or wait until it gets worse and damage your home: it’s your choice.
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The Devastating Effects a “Rape of a Child” Conviction
Rape is a type of sexual assault that can be committed by a person on either a male or a female of any age. It always involves forced and unwanted sexual intercourse, The rapist, who is the offender, uses violence to threaten his/her victim, or force to have control over the other person. In some occasions, alcohol or illegal drugs is used by the offender to impair a victim and render him/her without any capability to fight back and defend himself/herself. A rapist may be in the person of a date, a friend, an acquaintance, a kin, a stranger or, in certain instances, a family member or even a spouse. So long as it is forced and unwanted, then it shall be considered a crime. In a rape charge, the following are alleged:
- There was force applied;
- The offender may be in a position of authority and uses this authority to coerce the victim to submit to his/her malicious intents; and,
- The victim has a physical or mental condition which renders him/her incapable of expressing consent.
If an act of rape is committed against a person under a certain age, then the offense would be “rape of a child” or “statutory rape.” Statutory rape “is committed when an adult sexually penetrates a person who, under the law, is incapable of consenting to sex. Minors and physically and mentally incapacitated persons are deemed incapable of consenting to sex under rape statutes in all states. These persons are considered deserving of special protection because they are especially vulnerable due to their youth or condition.” Rape of a child is determined based on the victim’s age. This offense falls under three degrees:
1) Rape of a child in the first degree. This felony is committed if the victim is under the age of 12 (and not married to the offender) and if the offender is at least two years older than his/her victim.
2) Rape of a child in the second degree. A person will be charged with class A felony if he/she had sexual intercourse with someone who is 12 or 13 years old and not married to him/her; the offender should be at least three years older than the victim.
3) Rape of a child in the third degree. A person who has sexual intercourse with another who is either 14 or 15 years old and not married to him/her can be charged with a class C felony. The offender should also be at least four years older than his/her victim.
Rape of a child is a very serious crime. The possible consequences of a conviction can include:
- Lifetime registration as a sex offender;
- Prison sentencing (there may be a mandatory minimum); and,
- Substantial fines imposed by the court
Worse than these, however, is the devastating impact a conviction will have in the life of the convicted. Saving oneself from a conviction requires a very strong defense from a seasoned and highly-skilled criminal defense lawyer.
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