27Nov

Texas: Church Ownership of Real Property

Landmen and attorneys frequently find churches and other religious institutions within their chains of title, either as current or past holders of record title. These religious institutions are often conveyed valuable mineral or royalty interests, either through an unsevered estate, or more directly through a severed mineral or royalty interest. If you’re responsible for the running of a church, have you considered how A church check in system could help?
Therefore, it is crucial that landmen and attorneys understand the legal frameworks regarding church ownership of real property when engaging in leasing, conveyancing, or otherwise examining title. It’s important for them also, to Compare Conveyancing Quotes to obide with the legal framework.

Unfortunately, the applicable legal frameworks can be somewhat complex and confusing. This is likely due to the inherent conflict between constitutional law and property law. On one hand, the constitution requires that courts defer to the religious institutions, so as to refrain from becoming too entangled with the establishment or free exercise of religion. This means that courts must exercise certain levels of deference to religious institutions regarding their internal beliefs or rulings as to which branches, levels, parish or other type of sub-entity has the rights of ownership and authority over church property. However, on the other hand, courts must also rule on property disputes. When dealing with property disputes it is important to know the things to do about a property boundary dispute. This jurisprudencial battle is outside the scope of this article, but it should provide some direction in understanding goal behind the various frameworks that have developed for analyzing church property ownership and conveyancing disputes.

Generally, the topic can be divided into two subissues: (1) whether the status of the entity is such that, in the relevant time period, it could legally hold title to real property in its own name rather than a trustee, and (2) which persons or entities within the church organizational structure technically hold title to the real property. Understanding these issues, and the applicable legal frameworks, are crucial to effectively handling oil and gas title, leasing, and royalty payout.

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5Nov

Drilling Insight: Horizontal Drilling Under a Cemetery

Issue: Horizontal Drilling Under a Cemetery

Is there any legal authority which would prohibit an operator from conducting horizontal drilling operations underneath a tract of land that has been dedicated to cemetery or burial purposes?

Discussion:

Once property is dedicated to cemetery or burial purposes, there are several resulting restrictions placed on the use of the owner of that tract of land, some of which may impact oil and gas production operations.  No particular instrument or ceremony is required to dedicate a tract of land to cemetery purposes.  [1] Damon v. State, 52 S.W.2d 368, 370 (Tex. Comm’n App. 1932, holding approved); Davis v. May, 135 S.W.3d 747, 749 (Tex. App.-San Antonio 2003, pet. denied). Actual use of land for burial purposes is a sufficient dedication. [2] Damon, 52 S.W.2d at 370; Op. Tex. Att’y Gen. JC-0235 (2000).  The grantee of a burial lot in a deed of conveyance does not acquire a fee-simple title. [3] Oak Park Cemetery, Inc. v. Donaldson, 148 S.W.2d 994, 998 (Tex.Civ.App.—Galveston 1940, writ dism’d judgm’t cor.).  However, property once dedicated to cemetery purposes and in use as a burial ground for the dead may not be sold either voluntarily or through judicial proceedings in such a manner as to interfere with the uses and purposes to which it has been dedicated and devoted. [4] State v. Forest Lawn Lot Owners Ass’n, 152 Tex. 41, 254 S.W.2d 87 (Tex. 1953); Davis, 135 S.W.3d at 749. Read More »

Footnotes   [ + ]

© Copyright 2012-2018, McGinnis Lochridge LLP. All Rights Reserved. DISCLAIMER: The information in this article is for general information purposes only. This article should not be substituted for legal advice and should not be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or reading this article does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. You are encouraged to contact an attorney for legal advice concerning the information provided in this article.
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