If you are a landowner or energy company in Texas, you have likely heard of a title opinion. And if you haven’t, there’s a good chance you’ll need one in the future. But what is a title opinion? And what purpose does it serve? To shed some light on these questions, Wetsel, Allen, & Lederle, LLP‘s, attorneys have compiled a short guide to these often crucial legal documents.
Making sense of fragmented ownership
In Texas and other states with a wealth of energy resources, multiple parties often have an interest in a property that contains such resources. For a singular property, there could be:
- Surface owners
- Mineral owners
- Wind rights owners
- Solar rights owners
When an energy company wants to do a project on a property with multiple ownership interests, gaining the necessary approval to begin work can be difficult. This, combined with several other factors unique to this type of property, can slow down development considerably or derail it altogether.
Keeping projects moving
When a lawyer conducts a title opinion, they comprehensively review all the legal documents associated with a property and its many interests. These documents include:
- Lease agreements
- Public records
In this process, all parties interested in the property are clearly identified. Additionally, an attorney can uncover and correct title defects and other issues. With these things squared away, a project can then move forward unencumbered.
Preventing future disputes
The value of a title opinion remains long after a project is completed. With a piece of land’s ownership identified correctly and title defects cleared, the risk of future disputes decreases considerably. And if disputes arise in the future, they’ll be much easier to resolve with a thorough title opinion.
If you are a landowner or an energy company navigating the difficulties of fragmented ownership rights, an energy law attorney can help you explore a title opinion.