Monday, August 3, 2009

Legal Differences Between TX and LA

I grew up around a lot of lawyers, so I tend to have an ear for legal issues (not enough to actually want to be a lawyer, mind you). One thing that has always interested me is the uniqueness of Louisiana's legal system, which is based on the Napoleonic Code. I read a short article in the Fort Worth Business Press about the differences between mineral ownership rights in Texas and Louisiana that is worth sharing.

The two key concepts discussed are those of the "mineral servitude" and "prescription." In Louisiana, you can retain mineral rights if you sell the surface land, but you don't actually own the subsurface land like you do in Texas. You have a servitude to access the minerals. In essence, you don't own the minerals until they are actually extracted. You also don't have these rights in perpetuity. The rights can "prescribe" to the surface owner after a period of ten years if there is no activity.

If all goes swimmingly and you lease your mineral rights to a company that produces on the land, the end product is no different in Louisiana than Texas, but the conceptual foundation is quite different. It's worth a couple of minutes for Louisiana land owners to read the article.

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