In XTO v. Thacker, 2015 Ark. App. 203, a Van Buren County, Arkansas trial court ruled that a mineral deed with an extra handwritten description “also the South quarter of the Northeast quarter” invalid as surplusage. In legal language, “surplusage” is just extra language that means nothing. Surplusage is language that is unintelligible and repugnant to the matter at hand. In this case, there was a typewritten legal description of 118 acres with a handwritten notation including “the South quarter of the Northeast quarter.”
When affirming the Van Buren County, Arkansas trial court’s ruling on the legal description in the deed, the Arkansas Court of Appeals noted that someone made the notation on the deed after the date of recording. Thus, the land description attempted was not in the original parties’ bargain and the language placed in the deed after the recording date was surplusage.
Drafting is very important in any deed, but especially important in Arkansas mineral deeds. Accurate legal descriptions are among the most important parts of a mineral deed. It pays to have your Arkansas mineral deed lawyer to perform some title work to obtain the correct legal descriptions when giving an Arkansas mineral deed. This may make the deed cost more, but it saves down the road when others may choose to scrutinize the title conveyed by the deed because the property has valuable oil and gas production and royalties. It is also crucial that when granting Arkansas mineral interests title is clear and of record. This too becomes an issue years later when there is real money at stake that makes the extra paid to a competent mineral deed lawyer a bargain in comparison to future litigation costs.
Mark Robinette is an Arkansas lawyer and attorney providing Arkansas mineral deeds and supporting Arkansas title work in all 72 Arkansas counties including the Fayetteville Shale counties of White County, Cleburne County, Van Buren County, Faulkner County, Conway County, and Pope County. Arkansas lawyer Mark Robinette also represents persons in the South Arkansas oil patch including Nevada County, Ouachita County, Miller County, Lafayette County, Columbia County, Union County, and Calhoun County.