Legal Primer: Split or Severed Estate and Mineral Rights

A highly respected attorney, Alexei Schacht represents clients in criminal and civil matters, often appearing in New York’s federal and state courts. Holding a special interest in commercial matters, Alexei Schacht is often called upon to offer legal advisory services regarding contracts and structured exploration to gas and oil companies.

Land surface ownership is sometimes separate from mineral ownership, which occurs in the land’s subsurface. When minerals such as oil, gas, or metals are owned by a different party than the land owner, the land is commonly called severed or split estate. Mineral ownership is not always apparent on deeds, titles, or homestead claims. The process of separating and allocating ownership of minerals is usually performed by way of a mineral deed or a mineral reservation.

Mineral reservation occurs when a party possessing the rights to both the surface land and the minerals divides the rights upon sale of the estate. The federal government of a particular region, for example, might reserve the ownership of minerals, administering the leasing through a government body responsible for land management.

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