TX NATURAL RESOURCES CODE

SUBTITLE B. SURVEYS AND SURVEYORS

CHAPTER 51. LAND, TIMBER, AND SURFACE RESOURCES

SUBCHAPTER F. PATENTS



§ 51.241. ISSUANCE OF PATENT.
     The commissioner shall issue a patent when the records of his office reflect that full payment for land has been made where required and fees that are due on the land have been paid to the land office and have not been withdrawn, including the fee for recording the patent in the county or counties in which the land is located.

Acts 1977, 65th Leg., p. 2435, ch. 871, art. I, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1977.

§ 51.242. PATENT FEES.
     When a person applies for a patent, he shall pay to the land office in addition to all other required payments a fee set by the commissioner in an amount not less than $1 for each county in which all or a part of the land is located and shall give the name and address of the owner or agent.

Acts 1977, 65th Leg., p. 2435, ch. 871, art. I, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1977. Amended by Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 404, ch. 81, § 21(h), eff. Sept. 1, 1983.

§ 51.243. REQUISITES OF A PATENT.
     (a) Each patent for land from the state shall be issued in the name and by authority of the state under the state seal and the land office seal and shall be signed by the governor and countersigned by the commissioner.
     (b) Before the patent is delivered to the person who is entitled to it, it shall be registered in the land office patent book.

Acts 1977, 65th Leg., p. 2436, ch. 871, art. I, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1977. Amended by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 300, § 35, eff. Aug. 30, 1993.

§ 51.244. DELIVERY OF PATENT.
     (a) When a patent is ready for delivery, the commissioner shall send it, together with the check for payment of the fee required by Section 51.242 of this code and the name and address of the owner or his agent, by certified mail to the clerk of the proper county.
     (b) On receiving the patent, the clerk shall record it and shall send the patent, together with the name and address of the owner or his agent and the remaining recording fees, by certified mail to the clerk of another proper county until the patent has been recorded in each county in which all or part of the land is located.
     (c) After the patent is recorded in all the proper counties, it shall be sent by certified mail to the proper party.

Acts 1977, 65th Leg., p. 2436, ch. 871, art. I, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1977. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 354, § 2, eff. Aug. 28, 1995.

§ 51.245. DECEASED PATENTEE.
     A patent issued in the name of a person who is deceased at the time the patent is issued conveys and secures valid title to the heirs or assignee of the deceased person.

Acts 1977, 65th Leg., p. 2436, ch. 871, art. I, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1977.

§ 51.246. ACQUISITION OF DEED OF ACQUITTANCE TO EXCESS ACREAGE.
     (a) If the area of a tract of land that is titled or
      patented exceeds the quantity provided in the title or patent and if under the existing law the title to all or a part of the tract may be affected by the existence of the excess acreage, the person who owns the survey or portion of the survey or has an interest in it may pay for the total excess acreage in the survey or the total excess in a given tract out of the patented or titled survey at the price fixed by the board.
     (b) Any person who owns an interest in a titled or patented survey or any portion of a titled or patented survey in which excess acreage is located and who desires to pay for the excess acreage shall file with the commissioner a request for a determination of market value by an appraiser with corrected field notes in the form provided by law, together with a sworn statement of facts relating to his right to purchase and other evidence of his right to purchase which may be required by the commissioner. The corrected field notes shall describe the patented tract, and if purchasing excess in a portion of a tract, shall include a description of the portion in which the applicant is making application to purchase excess.
     (c) If it appears that excess acreage actually exists and that the applicant is entitled to obtain it under the law, the commissioner shall execute a deed of acquittance covering the land in the name of the original patentee or his assignees with a mineral reservation or with no mineral reservation accordingly as may have been the case when the survey was titled or patented.
     (d) The transfer shall inure distributively to the benefit of the lawful owners of the land in proportion to their holdings.

Acts 1977, 65th Leg., p. 2436, ch. 871, art. I, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1977. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 280, § 26, eff. June 18, 2003.

§ 51.247. PATENTS FOR LAND THAT CANNOT BE PATENTED BY OTHER METHODS.
     (a) Any headright survey, homestead donation,
      preemption survey, scrip survey, or other survey awarded or sold before August 20, 1931, which has been held and claimed in good faith by a person for 10 years before the date of application for a patent but which cannot be patented under existing law may be patented on payment to the commissioner of the purchase price as set by the board.
     (b) The patent shall be issued to the owner of record as shown in the records of the land office and shall inure distributively to the legal owners of the land.
     (c) If a tract of school land has been occupied by mistake as part of another tract, the occupant shall have a preference right for a period of six months after discovery of the mistake to purchase the land at the same price paid or contracted to be paid for the land actually conveyed to him.

Acts 1977, 65th Leg., p. 2436, ch. 871, art. I, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1977.

§ 51.248. DOUBTFUL CLAIM.
     If it appears to the commissioner from the records of his office or from information given to him under oath that there is an illegality in a claim, the commissioner, if he considers it necessary, shall refer the matter to the attorney general, and the attorney general's written decision is sufficient authority for the commissioner to issue or withhold the patent.

Acts 1977, 65th Leg., p. 2437, ch. 871, art. I, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1977.

§ 51.249. CONFLICTING SURVEYS.
     If conflicts exist between surveys, the commissioner shall issue patents to the portions of the surveys that are free from conflict.

Acts 1977, 65th Leg., p. 2437, ch. 871, art. I, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1977.

§ 51.250. CONFLICTING TITLE.
     (a) If a patent to land is issued by mistake on any valid claim for land and is afterwards found to be in conflict with an older title, the owner of the patent or any part of the land embraced by the patent which is in conflict may return the patent to the commissioner for cancellation. If the owner of the land that is the subject of the conflict cannot obtain the patent, he shall return to the commissioner legal evidence of his title to the patent or part of the patent.
     (b) The person returning the patent or filing the evidence also shall make and file with the commissioner an affidavit stating that he is still the owner of the land and has not sold or transferred it.
     (c) If the land office records or a duly certified copy of a judgment of a court of competent jurisdiction that has adjudicated the title reflects that a conflict exists, the commissioner may cancel the patent or the part of a patent that appears to belong to the party making the application.
     (d) In cases where a survey in a block or system of surveys conflicts on one side or more, and omits an unpatented strip on another side or sides due to the patent being issued on an erroneous subsequent survey not conforming to the original and recognized pattern for the block or system, the commissioner, at the request of all parties owning under said patent, may cancel said patent and issue a corrected patent that shall conform to said block or system of surveys. In the event that excess acreage exists, a deed of acquittance shall be procured, as provided by law, and will be issued simultaneously with the corrected patent. This Subsection (d) shall not adversely affect the rights of any party in or entitled to possession of land affected by this subsection, but merely clarifies that the ownership in any land in a block or system of surveys exists as if the patent had been correctly issued on the date the erroneous patent was issued. The rights of a claimant under applicable law shall be construed as if the corrected patent had been originally issued.

Acts 1977, 65th Leg., p. 2437, ch. 871, art. I, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1977. Amended by Acts 1981, 67th Leg., p. 2239, ch. 535, § 1, eff. Aug. 31, 1981.

§ 51.251. PARTIAL CONFLICT OF TITLE.
     If there is only a partial conflict of title under a patent, the commissioner in the manner provided in Section 51.250 of this code may cancel any patent presented to him and issue a patent to the applicant for the portion of the land that is covered by his original patent but that is not in conflict with the older title if the area can be determined from the field notes.

Acts 1977, 65th Leg., p. 2437, ch. 871, art. I, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1977.

§ 51.252. REFUND OF PURCHASE MONEY.
     (a) If a patent cannot be issued for land because of a conflict, erroneous survey, or illegal sale or if a patent is issued for land and is later canceled, the comptroller, on proper proof, may issue his warrant to the proper parties for amounts paid in good faith to the State Treasury for taxes, lease payments, or purchase payments on this land.
     (b) Proof of these good-faith payments may be shown by the certificate of the commissioner if the records of the land office show that a patent cannot be issued because of conflict, erroneous survey, or illegal sale or that a patent has been canceled.
     (c) The provisions of this section do not apply to surveys on which the errors may be corrected.

Acts 1977, 65th Leg., p. 2437, ch. 871, art. I, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1977.

§ 51.253. CORRECTED PATENT.
     (a) An owner of land in one or more patented surveys may apply to the General Land Office for a corrected patent to correct scriveners' errors or obvious errors in the field note description of the original patent as determined by the commissioner. The application must clearly identify the error in the original patent.
     (b) The General Land Office may adopt rules relating to the implementation and operation of this section, including rules requiring the payment of reasonable filing and processing fees by an applicant for a corrected patent.

Added by Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 752, ch. 182, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1983.