Montana Code Annotated 2021



Part 3. Trusts for Unlocatable Mineral Owners

Creation Of Trust For Unlocatable Mineral, Leasehold, Or Royalty Interest Owners

82-1-302. Creation of trust for unlocatable mineral, leasehold, or royalty interest owners. (1) Any person who owns an interest in minerals underlying a tract of land may petition the district court of the county in which the tract or a portion of the tract is located to declare a trust in favor of other persons also owning or claiming an interest in the minerals underlying the tract if their place of residence and present whereabouts is unknown and cannot reasonably be ascertained.

(2) In requesting the appointment of a trustee, the petitioner shall show that:

(a) a diligent but unsuccessful effort to locate the absent owner or claimant has been made; and

(b) appointment of a trustee will be in the best interest of all owners of an interest in the minerals.

(3) After determining that the conditions of subsection (2) have been met, the court shall appoint the clerk of court or, if the clerk of court declines to act as trustee, the department of revenue as trustee and shall authorize the clerk of court or the department to execute and deliver an oil, gas, or other mineral lease, a ratification, a division order, or any other related document or instrument on the terms and conditions as the court may approve.

(4) If at any time a clerk of court decides to not continue as trustee for a trust for unlocatable mineral, leasehold, or royalty interest owners, the district court shall appoint the department of revenue to act as trustee. Upon the department of revenue's appointment as trustee, the clerk of court shall remit all funds and interest held in the trust to the department of revenue.

History: En. Sec. 1, Ch. 513, L. 1979; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 126, L. 1997.