New Year’s Resolution: Review Your Estate Plan and Beneficiary Designations

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In addition to finding your favorite party hat and gathering up the confetti to celebrate the beginning of 2015 on Wednesday evening, this is a great time to review your estate plan and beneficiary designations.  Because situations change–marriages are celebrated, children are born, deaths occur–it is important to frequently revisit and update your estate plan.  Here are some pointers to get you started. Draft Basic Documents.  First, ensure you have at least the basic estate planning documents in place.  This includes a will, power of attorney, medical power… Read More →

Happy Holidays!

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2014 Ag Law Year in Review

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Recently, I wrote an article for Progressive Cattleman outlining the major ag law happenings during 2014.  The list includes water disputes, WTO rulings, GMO labeling laws, horse slaughter, the Endangered Species Act, the Missouri Right to Farm Amendment, and agricultural protection (aka “ag gag”) laws.  To read my article, click here. What ag law stories did you think were some of  the most important and interesting this year?

December 19, 2014 Weekly Round Up

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This week I spoke to a full house at the Swisher County Ag Day in Tulia about Texas Water Law and the major ag law issues to watch in 2015.  Thanks to County Extension Agent John Villalba for the invitation and opportunity to speak.  To those of you joining the blog from Swisher County, welcome!  This is our last weekly round up post of the year!  I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season. * 5th Circuit Refuses to Reconsider Aransas Project v. Shaw.  Earlier this week, the 5th Circuit… Read More →

Multi-Million Dollar Settlements for New Mexico Royalty Owners

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Two class action lawsuits have been settled in favor of New Mexico royalty and overriding royalty owners. Devon Energy Corporation and Burlington Resources have settled claims that they underpaid royalties in the San Juan Basin by improperly deducting costs of treating and transporting coalbed methane gas. In Davis v. Devon Energy Corp., New Mexico First Judicial District Court No. D-0101-CV-2003-01590, Devon settled the case for $27.75 million. In Ideal v. Burlington Resources Oil & Gas Company LP, New Mexico First Judicial District Court No. D-0101-CV-2003-02309, the defendants paid… Read More →

“Sound Mind” Requirement for Executing a Will

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* Please remember to vote for the Texas Ag Law Blog in the “Niche” category of the ABA Top 100 Blawgs!  Click here between now and December 19!* A couple of months ago, a Beamont Court of Appeals case illustrated the importance of ensuring that a person has the mental capacity required to validly execute a will.  The case did a good job of outlining the applicable law as well as discussing some of the facts upon which a jury determines capacity.  [Read full opinion here.] Background Marie Forward died on November… Read More →

December 12, 2014 Weekly Round Up

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Happy Friday!  It has been a busy couple of weeks around here.  Last week, I traveled to Brady for the Tri-County Land and Livestock Conference to discuss agricultural and oil and gas leases.  This week, I was off to Archer City to discuss agricultural leases.  Welcome to those of you who attended those programs. * US Appeals WTO Ruling on Country of Origin Labeling for Meat.  As you may recall from this post, the WTO recently found that the United States Country of Origin Labeling (“COOL”) regulations violate… Read More →

More on Pipeline Easement Negotiations

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* Please remember to vote for the Texas Ag Law Blog in the “Niche” category of the ABA Top 100 Blawgs!  Click here between now and December 19!* If you have followed this blog for a while, you know I frequently write on issues related to pipeline easements.  This is an important issue facing landowners across the state.  I recently wrote an article on pipeline easement negotiation considerations for Progressive Cattleman magazine that provides practical tips for landowners who may be working through negotiations for a pipeline easement.  It is… Read More →

December 9, 2014 Weekly Round Up

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Because I did not get the Weekly Round Up post up last Friday, I figured better late than never, so here is the first-ever Tuesday weekly round up of ag law stories in the news. * LCRA Seeks Approval to Cut Off Downstream Irrigation Releases for Fourth Year in a Row.  In a story that is unfortunately becoming all to common, the Lower Colorado River Authority voted 11-2 to seek permission from the TCEQ to curtail downstream releases from the Highland Lakes.  The curtailment would not just impact… Read More →

Case Analyzes “Operations” Language in Oil and Gas Lease

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* Please remember to vote for the Texas Ag Law Blog in the “Niche” category of the ABA Top 100 Blawgs!  Click here between now and December 19!* A recent case from the Waco Court of Appeals, Rippy Interests, LLC v. Nash, illustrates an important issue to consider when negotiating oil and gas leases. [Read full opinion here.] Lease Background Nash owned mineral rights for 1,888 acres in Leon County.  He entered into a lease with Range Production, who later assigned the lease to Rippy Interests, LLC. The lease was for a primary… Read More →