Back to Publications

Land Description Basics

Brent D. Chicken, Mineral Title Examination (2007)

Real estate brokers are fond of relating the oft-quoted phrase, “location, location, location,” in relation to the most valuable aspect of a given piece of real property. However, the same can be said for the preparation of mineral title opinions. The precise measurement, description, and acreage content of the subject parcel of land affects all aspects of a mineral title opinion thereon, from the recorded and filed documents examined, to the division of production proceeds. Indeed, an accurate legal land description also controls the coverage of oil and gas, mining, and other mineral leases and licenses; the location of easements, boundaries, and rights-of-way; and the ownership of surface, mineral, and leasehold interests. This document is therefore designed to give the reader a practical tool for use in understanding the legal land descriptions and acreage contents necessary to prepare a mineral title opinion.

Although an in-depth review of the methods for describing and construing legal descriptions could fill volumes, from the perspective of a mineral title examiner, such analysis can be narrowed to recognizing and understanding those forms of land description which are acceptable, those forms which are imperfect but pass, and those forms which are incorrect and unusable.1 Indeed, the mineral title examiner has a single choice when construing an instrument's legal