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The Proper Execution of Legal Instruments: The Nuts and Bolts That Bind the Parties

Thomas W. Niebrugge, Proceedings of 37th Annual Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Institute (1991)

This paper is intended to provide the industry landman with a nuts and bolts primer for the proper execution of legal instruments. Considered will be the most common legal entities the landman encounters. Individuals (married or not), sole proprietorships, general and limited partnerships, corporations, trusts, attorneys-in-fact, guardians of minors, conservators, and personal representatives will all be examined. Individual state statutes and court decisions will be considered for the nine western states of Colorado, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming.

Hypothetical. Herb enjoys his job as office landman for a small independent oil company. His company is involved in a major lease play in a Rocky Mountain basin and he is in charge of a lease crew. Other companies are competing in the area and the leasing pressures are growing. His phone rings a lot. Most of the time it is a question from a contract field landman about where to buy and on what terms. Those questions he can handle. But one day he gets a phone call and the question is quite different.

It seems that a crucial and expensive lease is at hand. The minerals are held in the name of a deceased resident of California, and the landman is in the widow's kitchen in [20-3] Monterey. The property is partially in Utah and partially in Colorado. She is ready to