Ryan, I'm happy for you. I know this would be a lot easier for people to take if the money put in escrow went back to the property owner if no heirs where found.
10 years ago, My parents transferred all minerals except one coal vein(sold in 1910) into an LLC made up of the family. This was done for tax purposes and estate planning. I was the CFO of the LLC and immediately received a separate property tax bill amounting to about $1.50 per acre for the minerals. This is in addition to the surface property tax bill. I know it is not much of an expense considering what we have gotten for the leases. We receive this bill every 6 months on the minerals. The surface has since been sold. My question is this, have these people who have reserved the mineral rights been paying property taxes? If they have not, wouldn't they owe the local taxing authority some money for property they owned, but did not pay taxes on? BTW our property is in Jefferson County, Ohio.
Thanks for posting as I have not heard this spin on these mineral rights issues. Am I correct that if the person who reserved the minerals willed them or transferred them to one one child then only that line of heirs would be the legal owners?
Belmontlandowner, Our attorney explained to our family that we were never obligated to file a preservation for the minerals unless we were given notice from a surface owner that they were trying to Abandon the rights. In order to abandon the rights, the surface owner is obligated to locate the heirs and provide them with notice. I don't believe that process was put in place for the sole benefit of the surface owners. Luckily for us, we have a family member who saw a post in the newspaper regarding the minerals abanondment my great grand father owned and they contacted the attorney who helped us file the preservation. If they hadn't seen the article in the paper we would have had to take legal action bc they didn't contact anyone in our family, even the local folks were never contacted. I understand both sides of the argument but you can't take someone's property rights away, whether they were aware they owned them or not. I believe when many surface owners bought property where the minerals were sold off or kept by the prior owner they knew of this when they purchased the surface of the property. Its very likely they may not find every person who is an heir, so maybe the surface owners could claim the interest those people would have inherited. Our attorney did a great job explaining everything to us before we signed anything. I think many people like you said see free money and don't look into whether or not they are receiving a fair offer.