Requirement 14.001 – Possible Conflicting Mineral Grants and Blanket Grants

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Requirement 14.001 – Possible Conflicting Mineral Grants and Blanket Grants

 

 Robert Allen Deeds:  By deed dated February 1, 2006, and recorded in Deed Book 432, page 25, George Andrews acquired an undivided one-sixteenth (1/16th) mineral interest in Tract 1 from Isaac G. Baker.  George Andrews then conveyed an undivided ten (10) mineral acres in Tract 1 to Robert Allen by deed dated March 6, 2006, and recorded in Deed Book 436, page 52.  The tax assessor’s record suggest that Tract 1 comprises 160 acres.   If Tract 1 contained less than 160 acres, George Andrews did not have sufficient title to convey ten (10) mineral acres to Robert Allen. For example, if Tract 1 contained only 158 acres, then Andrews would have acquired only 9.88 mineral acres from Isaac G. Baker (158 acres/16 = 9.88 acres).  Conversely, if Tract 1 contained more than 160 acres, Andrews would have retained an interest in the mineral estate underlying Tract 1 after the conveyance of ten mineral acres to Robert Allen.

 

 Robert Allen then granted four, separate two and one-half mineral (2-½) acre interests in Tract 1 to the following grantees by the deeds listed below:

 

(1)Two and one-half (2-½) mineral acres in Tract 1 to Richard W. Ballentine by deed dated April 15, 2006, and recorded in Deed Book 436, page 156;

 

(2)Two and one-half (2-½) mineral acres in Tract 1 to John J. Baugh by deed dated April 15, 2006, and recorded in Deed Book 436, page 159;

 

(3)Two and one-half (2-½) mineral acres in Tract 1 to Joseph Bayliss by deed dated April 15, 2006, and recorded in Deed Book 436, page 162;

 

(4)Two and one-half (2-½) mineral acres in Tract 1 to John Walker Baylor, Jr., by deed dated April 15, 2006, and recorded in Deed Book 436, page 165.

 

Each of the four mineral deeds from Robert Allen purported to convey to the grantee an undivided two and one-half (2-½) mineral acres underlying Tract 1.   So, he attempted to convey a total of ten mineral acres in Tract 1.  If Tract 1 contains less than 160 acres, Robert Allen did not acquire ten mineral acres in Tract 1 through his deed from George Andrews. In that case, there would have been a failure of title in the amount equal to 10 mineral acres - <area of Tract 1>/16.

 

 In addition to the potential title failure that would result in Tract 1 contains less than 160 acres, each deed from Robert Allen also conveyed all the right, title, and interest of  Robert Allen  in the mineral estate underlying Tract 1.  The Alabama Supreme Court has recognized blanket grants for many years. Wright v. Louisville & N.R. Co., 82 So. 132, 133 (Ala. 1919).  Thus, the blanket grant of “all the right, title, and interest” of Robert Allen in the mineral estate in Tract 1 was a valid grant.  He could, however, only convey all his interest once.  After that he had no remaining interest to convey.  Consequently, after the execution and delivery of the first  April 15, 2006 deeds, Robert Allen had no title to convey any interest to the remaining three grantees named in the April 15, 2006, deeds.

 

 It appears that Robert Allen no longer has any interest in Tract 1, regardless of its size.  If Tract 1 is smaller than 160 acres, then Allen did not acquire ten mineral acres, but he conveyed that number of mineral acres to his four grantees (either by the four grants of 2-½ mineral acres and his blanker grants of all his interests in Tract 1).

 

 George Andrews, may however have an undivided mineral interest in Tract 1 if it contains more than 160 mineral acres.  Also, the four grantees holding under Robert Allen appear to believe they each hold an undivided 2-½ acre mineral interest in Tract 1.

 

 Due to the uncertainty as to the ownership of the mineral interests in Tract 1 potentially claimed by George Andrews, Richard W. Ballentine,  John J. Baugh,  Joseph Bayliss, and John Walker Baylor, Jr., you should obtain leases from them covering all their mineral interests in Tract 1.  This approach would allow you to lease their interests for drilling purposes, but let them settle their own conflicts if Tract 1 proves to be productive.

 

 Alternatively, in order to resolve all potential conflicting claims to the chain of title that originated with George Andrews, you should first obtain an accurate survey of Tract 1.  If the survey establishes that Tract 1 contains exactly 160 acres or less, then George Andrews did not retain an undivided mineral interest in Tract 1 because his grant of ten mineral acres to Robert Allen would have consumed his entire interest.  On the other hand, if the survey shows that Tract 1 contains more than 160 acres, then George Andrews retained an undivided mineral interest in Tract 1 equal to ten subtracted from the number of actual acres contained in Tract 1 divided by sixteen  [(<actual area>/16) - 1].

 

 The conflicting claims of Richard W. Ballentine,  John J. Baugh,  Joseph Bayliss, and John Walker Baylor, Jr., can only be resolved through a correction deed executed by each and delivered one to the other.  The correction deed should contain cross-grants sufficient to vest each of Ballentine, Baugh, Bayliss, and Baylor with one-fourth of whatever interest the survey establishes that Robert Allen acquired from George Andrews.

 

 After the conflicting claims of George Andrews, Richard W. Ballentine,  John J. Baugh,  Joseph Bayliss, and John Walker Baylor, Jr., are resolved, you should obtain leases covering the interests of the resulting owners.

 

 Requirement:  Acquire oil, gas, and mineral leases from  George Andrews, Richard W. Ballentine,  John J. Baugh,  Joseph Bayliss, and John Walker Baylor, Jr., covering all their mineral interests in Tract 1.   Alternatively, accomplish the curative steps set forth above, including obtaining an accurate survey of Tract 1, acquiring an oil, gas, and mineral lease from George Andrews, if necessary, obtaining a correction deed and oil, gas, and mineral leases from Richard W. Ballentine,  John J. Baugh,  Joseph Bayliss, and John Walker Baylor, Jr.

Copyright 2011 by Edward G, Hawkins. All rights reserved.