Someone conveying a piece of real estate can reserve to himself the right to claim, mine for, and profit from all minerals lying under the property. This is accomplished by adding a statement onto a deed for real property, usually after the legal description. An example is "Lot 1, Block 1, ANYWHERE SUBDIVISION, according to the map or plat thereof in Plat Book 1, Page 1, Public Records of County, State. Reserving, however, all oil, gas and mineral rights."
The current owner of the mineral rights may convey his interest, or a portion thereof, by deed. This deed must meet the same statutory regulations, according to the state where the property is located, as a deed for real property. If the total interest is deeded to the current owner of the surface property, the mineral rights ownership merges into the real property ownership and the reservations are eliminated.
When an owner of any percentage of mineral rights dies, his rights pass according to his estate. They may pass through a will or, if the deceased did not have a will, through intestate succession. People who inherit these rights own their percentage in full and may subsequently convey the rights to another by a mineral rights deed.
Runs with the Land
Mineral reservations do not have to be repeated on subsequent deeds of the surface property. Once someone reserves his mineral rights, he continues to own them until the rights pass to someone else through deed or probate. For example, if John Smith reserved his mineral rights in a deed where he was selling a piece of property in 1975, and that piece of land is then conveyed 12 more times through today's date, John Smith still owns the rights.
Right of Entry
Mineral rights include the right of the subsurface owner to enter the land without permission to mine. There are several ways to avoid this, subject to the laws of the state. The purchaser may pay the owner to release his right of entry. In some states if the rights have not been restated on public record, and it has been over a certain amount of time since the original reservation, then the right of entry is barred by statute.