2016 Illinois Compiled Statutes
Chapter 765 - PROPERTY
765 ILCS 515/ - Severed Mineral Interest Act.

(765 ILCS 515/1) (from Ch. 96 1/2, par. 9201)
Sec. 1. As used in this Act the following definitions shall apply:
(a) A "severed mineral interest" is any whole or fractional interest in any or all minerals which have been severed from the surface estate by grant, exception, reservation or other means.
(b) An "unknown or missing owner" is any person or entity vested with a severed mineral interest and whose present identity or location cannot be determined from the records of the county in which the severed mineral interest is located and by diligent inquiry in the vicinity of the owner's last known place of residence, and shall include his unknown heirs and his unknown successors and assigns.
(c) A "surface owner" is any person or entity vested with a whole or undivided fee simple interest or other freehold interest in the surface estate overlying a severed mineral interest but does not include an owner of a right of way, easement, leasehold or any other lesser estate.
(Source: P.A. 83-571.)


(765 ILCS 515/2) (from Ch. 96 1/2, par. 9202)
Sec. 2. The circuit court of the county wherein the severed mineral interest sought to be affected, or the major portion thereof, is situated shall have jurisdiction of the proceedings authorized by this Act.
(Source: P.A. 83-571.)


(765 ILCS 515/3) (from Ch. 96 1/2, par. 9203)
Sec. 3. If the title to any severed mineral interest is vested in an unknown or missing owner, the circuit court of the county in which the minerals or the major portion thereof lies shall have the power to declare a trust therein, appoint a trustee for the unknown or missing owners and authorize the trustee to sell, execute and deliver a valid lease thereon on terms and conditions approved by the circuit court for the purposes hereinafter provided. The lease shall continue in full force and effect after the termination of the trust or merger of the severed mineral estate with the surface estate unless the lease has previously expired by its own terms.
(Source: P.A. 83-571.)


(765 ILCS 515/4) (from Ch. 96 1/2, par. 9204)
Sec. 4. Proceedings for the appointment of a trustee may be instituted by any person:
(a) Vested in fee simple with the whole or undivided interest in the surface estate overlying the particular mineral sought to be developed;
(b) Vested in fee simple with an undivided interest in all or part of the particular minerals sought to be developed;
(c) Vested in fee simple with the entire interest in the particular minerals sought to be developed under lands immediately adjacent and contiguous to those lands under which the same minerals are vested in unknown or missing owners; or
(d) Vested with a valid and subsisting mineral lease, the lessor of which is a person defined under either paragraph (b) or (c) of this Section.
(Source: P.A. 83-571.)


(765 ILCS 515/5) (from Ch. 96 1/2, par. 9205)
Sec. 5. (a) The person seeking to impress a trust upon a severed mineral interest for the purpose of leasing and developing the same shall join as defendants to the action all persons having a legal interest therein who are unknown or missing and the unknown heirs, successors and assigns of all unknown or missing owners. Said defendants shall stand for and represent the full title and the whole interest of the unknown or missing owners in the severed mineral interest or estate or interest therein. All parties not in being who might have some contingent or future interest therein, and all persons whether in being or not in being, having any interest, present, future or contingent, in the severed mineral interests sought to be leased, shall be fully bound by the proceedings hereunder.
(b) There shall be filed a verified petition specifically setting forth the following:
(1) The legal description of the lands.
(2) The interest of the plaintiff in the lands.
(3) The apparent interest of the defendant or defendants in the lands.
(4) The last known address, residence or whereabouts which plaintiff may have been able to ascertain for each unknown or missing owner and the sources of information which plaintiff has checked in an attempt to locate the present address, residence or whereabouts of each unknown or missing owner.
(5) That plaintiff, upon diligent inquiry, cannot determine such defendant's current address, residence or whereabouts and that upon due inquiry, such defendant cannot be found.
(6) That there are persons, firms or corporations who are willing to purchase a mineral lease covering the interest of such defendant, and that the existence of these unleased mineral interests is detrimental to and impairs the enjoyment of the interest of plaintiff.
(7) That the plaintiff has acquired or has good reason to believe that he can acquire the right to mine and remove all other mineral interests in the lands, if any, other than the interest of such defendant.
(c) The defendant or defendants shall be given notice of the pendency of the action by the clerk of the court by publication to be made in some newspaper published in the county where the action is pending. If there is no newspaper published in that county, then the publication shall be in a newspaper published in an adjoining county in this State, having circulation in the county in which the action is pending. The publication shall contain notice of the pendency of the action, the title of the court, the title of the case, showing the names of the plaintiff and the first named defendant, the number of the case, the names of the parties to be served by publication, the legal description of the lands involved and the date on or after which default may be entered against such party. The clerk shall also, within 10 days of the first publication of the notice, send a copy thereof by mail, addressed to each defendant's last known address stated in the petition. The certificate of the clerk that he has sent the copy of the notice pursuant to this Section is evidence that he has done so. The notice may be given at any time after the commencement of the action, and shall be published at least once in each week for 3 successive weeks. No default or proceeding shall be taken against any defendant unless the first publication is at least 30 days prior to the time when the default or other proceeding is sought to be taken.
(d) (1) If in any action there are persons who would be unknown parties as defined in Section 2-413 of the Code of Civil Procedure, those persons may be made defendants to this action in the same manner and with the same effect as provided in the Code of Civil Procedure. Said defendants shall be given notice of the pendency of the action by publication as provided herein.
(2) The court shall appoint a guardian ad litem for any party to the proceeding who is a ward and who is not represented by a guardian.
(3) If it appears that any person not in being upon coming into being is or may become or may claim to be entitled to any interest in the property sought to be leased, the court shall appoint a guardian ad litem to appear for and represent such interest in the proceeding and to defend the proceeding on behalf of the person not in being, and any judgment or order rendered in the proceeding is as effectual for all purposes as though the person were in being and were a party to the proceeding.
(e) If any defendant answers or otherwise appears personally and the court finds that he is an unknown or missing owner of a severed mineral interest, the court shall enter an order determining the interest of such defendant and he shall be dismissed from the action. The appearance by a guardian ad litem appointed pursuant to subsection 5(d) (2) or 5(d) (3) of this Section shall not be deemed a personal appearance within the meaning of this subsection (e). As to all other defendants and after compliance with the notice requirements provided herein, the court shall take evidence and hear testimony as to the matters set forth in the complaint. The court shall determine the prevailing terms of similar mineral leases obtained in the vicinity of the lands described in the complaint, including, but not limited to, length of primary term, bonus monies, delay rentals, royalty rate, and other forms of lease payments. If upon taking evidence and hearing testimony it appears that material allegations of the complaint are true and that there has been compliance with the notice provisions herein provided, then the court shall appoint a trustee for the purpose of selling a mineral lease covering the interest of said defendant. The judgment appointing the trustee and authorizing the sale of such a lease shall specify the minimum terms which may be accepted by the trustee, such terms to be substantially consistent with the terms of other similar mineral leases obtained in the vicinity as determined by the court. From the date of such judgment the owner of the surface estate overlying the severed mineral interest shall be held to be exercising presumptive adverse possession of that severed mineral interest. The terms of the mineral lease shall be substantially consistent with the terms of other existing leases covering the remaining mineral interests in the lands described in the complaint. The lands to be covered by the mineral lease shall be contiguous. To the extent that any of the lands described in the complaint are not contiguous to other lands described therein, said lands shall be the subject of separate mineral leases. The court may designate the place and manner of holding the sale and may determine whether said sale shall be private or public. The court, in its discretion, may require the trustee to give a bond which shall be approved by the court. The court shall determine a reasonable fee to be paid to the trustee and said fee, together with the reasonable attorneys' fees and costs of the proceeding incurred by such trustee, shall be paid by the purchaser of the mineral lease.
(f) The plaintiff shall forthwith furnish the court with a report of proceedings of the evidence received and testimony taken at the hearing on the complaint, and the report of proceedings shall be filed and made a part of the case record.
(Source: P.A. 83-571.)


(765 ILCS 515/6) (from Ch. 96 1/2, par. 9206)
Sec. 6. The trustee shall enter into negotiations with prospective purchasers of the mineral lease and shall sell a mineral lease covering the interest of the defendant. The terms of the mineral lease shall be in accordance with the findings and judgment of the court. The trustee shall forthwith prepare and file a report of sale of the mineral lease stating the terms of said lease and the payments received therefor and give notice to all parties appearing of record. If the court finds that the sale was in accordance with its judgment, said sale shall be confirmed by court order. All monies paid to the trustee shall be deposited by him in an interest bearing federally insured account, such account to be in the name of and for the benefit of such defendant. Any depository in which such monies are deposited shall have an office in the county where the lands, or some part thereof, are located. All future payments made under the mineral lease shall be paid directly into such account and be held for the use and benefit of the defendant. All payments received by the depository shall be held by the depository until further order of the court, except that the trustee is authorized and directed, without court order, to pay from the proceeds received any real property or other taxes pertaining to such interest. Such defendant or his successor may petition the court, and upon a finding of the court of ownership of such interest, the court shall enter an order directing the release of all funds applicable to the interest, including any accrued interest, to such owner. The depositing of payments to the account for the credit of such defendant or the payment of any taxes by the trustee shall not be construed as any personal act of such defendant within the provisions of the Uniform Disposition of Unclaimed Property Act.
(Source: P.A. 83-571.)


(765 ILCS 515/7) (from Ch. 96 1/2, par. 9207)
Sec. 7. The sale of and execution of any mineral lease under the provisions of this Act shall be binding in all respects as to all of the interest in the mineral and the right to mine and remove the same owned by the defendant to the action in the same manner as if the defendant had personally signed and delivered the lease. The lease shall be binding upon the defendant's heirs, legatees, personal representatives, successors or assigns.
(Source: P.A. 84-549.)


(765 ILCS 515/8) (from Ch. 96 1/2, par. 9208)
Sec. 8. In the event of the death, resignation, refusal or inability of the trustee to act, the court, upon its own motion or upon the motion of the depository, mineral lessee, or surface owner overlying the severed mineral interest involved in the litigation, shall appoint a successor trustee.
After the entry of the initial judgment authorizing a lease all subsequent proceedings pertaining to the lands and the severed mineral interest involved in the initial litigation, including subsequent leasing proceedings or proceedings by the trustee requesting authority to execute and deliver additional documents pertaining to a mineral lease, shall be commenced and prosecuted in the same case as the proceedings for the initial lease. The acting trustee at the time of any subsequent proceedings shall act as the trustee in said proceedings. The court shall retain continuing authority and jurisdiction to conduct all such subsequent proceedings.
(Source: P.A. 83-571.)


(765 ILCS 515/9) (from Ch. 96 1/2, par. 9209)
Sec. 9. (a) Regardless of whether there has been production of the severed mineral interest, if the owners of the severed mineral interests which are the subject of a trustee's lease executed and delivered in accordance with this Act remain unknown or missing for a period of 7 years from the date of entry of the initial judgment authorizing a lease, the trustee shall file a motion with the court on or before the eighth anniversary of the date of the lease naming the then present surface owners as additional parties defendant and requesting the surface owners to appear and present proof to the satisfaction of the court that they are vested with fee simple title to the surface estate. Upon a finding by the court that the surface estate is vested in fee simple in the surface owners, the court shall order the trustee to convey to the surface owners by recordable instrument the unknown or missing owners' interest in the severed mineral interests, which conveyance shall be approved by endorsement by the court on the face thereof.
(b) The trustee shall pay to the surface owner the remaining balance in the depository which has accrued to the credit of such severed mineral interests to the date of his final report after payment of all allowable fees, taxes, expenses and court costs including a fee to be paid to the trustee in an amount determined by the court.
(c) From and after the date of the conveyance from the trustee to the surface owners executed and delivered in accordance with subsection (a) of this Section the surface owners shall be entitled to receive all proceeds from the lease of such severed mineral interests.
(d) Upon the delivery of the conveyance directed in subsection (a) of this Section, and after the payment as directed in subsection (b) of this Section the trustee shall make his final report to the court, and upon approval thereof, the court shall order the trust terminated and the trustee and his bond discharged.
(Source: P.A. 83-571.)


(765 ILCS 515/10) (from Ch. 96 1/2, par. 9210)
Sec. 10. All attorneys' fees, expenses, and court costs incident to the proceedings authorized hereunder shall be paid by the lessee if a lease is executed pursuant hereto, and by the plaintiff if for any reason no lease is executed. Subsequent to entry of judgment, all allowable fees, expenses, and court costs shall be paid out of funds in the hands of the trustee or party movant.
(Source: P.A. 91-357, eff. 7-29-99.)


(765 ILCS 515/11) (from Ch. 96 1/2, par. 9211)
Sec. 11. (a) Surface owners may gain title to severed mineral interests owned by unknown or missing owners under the theory of adverse possession in the following manner and under the following conditions: If the title to any severed mineral interest is vested in an unknown owner or missing owner and the surface owner overlying the severed mineral interest desires to acquire title to it by adverse possession, the surface owner may institute a proceeding in the circuit court of the county in which the severed mineral interest or the major portion thereof lies. The surface owner shall join as defendants to the proceeding all those persons having record title to the severed mineral interest who are unknown or missing and the unknown heirs, successors and assigns of all such persons. The persons named as defendants and who are the unknown or missing owners as defined herein shall stand for and represent the full title and the whole interest of the unknown or missing owners in the severed mineral interest or estate or interest therein. All parties not in being who might have some contingent or future interest therein, and all persons whether in being or not in being, having any interest, present, future or contingent, in the severed mineral interest sought to be acquired, shall be fully bound by the proceedings hereunder. The surface owner shall also join as defendants all other surface owners, if any, who are not plaintiffs.
(b) There shall be filed a verified petition specifically setting forth the following:
(1) The legal description of the lands.
(2) The interest of the plaintiff as a surface owner of the lands.
(3) The apparent interest of the defendant or defendants in the lands.
(4) The last known address, residence or whereabouts which plaintiff may have been able to ascertain for each defendant who constitutes an unknown or missing owner and the sources of information which plaintiff has checked in an attempt to locate the present address, residence or whereabouts of each such defendant.
(5) That plaintiff, upon diligent inquiry, cannot determine the unknown or missing owner defendant's current address, residence or whereabouts and that upon due inquiry, said defendants cannot be found.
(6) That the surface owners desire to acquire title to the severed mineral interest by adverse possession.
(7) The petition shall also include as defendants and set forth the apparent interest of all other persons holding a legal interest in the surface estate.
(c) The defendant or defendants who constitute the unknown or missing owners shall be given notice of the pendency of the action by the clerk of the court by publication to be made in some newspaper published in the county where the action is pending. If there is no newspaper published in that county, then the publication shall be in a newspaper published in an adjoining county in this State, having circulation in the county in which the action is pending. The publication shall contain notice of the pendency of the action, the title of the court, the title of the case, showing the names of the plaintiff and the first named defendant, the number of the case, the names of the parties to be served by publication, the legal description of the lands involved and the date on or after which default may be entered against such party. The clerk shall also, within 10 days of the first publication of the notice, send a copy thereof by mail, addressed to each defendant whose last known address is stated in the petition. The certificate of the clerk that he has sent the copy of the notice in pursuance of this Section is evidence that he has done so. The notice may be given at any time after the commencement of the action, and shall be published at least once in each week for 3 successive weeks. No default or proceeding shall be taken against any defendant unless the first publication was at least 30 days prior to the time when the default or other proceeding is sought to be taken.
(d)(1) If in any action there are persons who would be unknown parties as defined in Section 2-413 of the Code of Civil Procedure, they may be made defendants to this action in the same manner and with the same effect as provided in the Code of Civil Procedure. Said defendants shall be given notice of the pendency of the action by publication as provided herein.
(2) The court shall appoint a guardian ad litem for any party to the proceeding who is a ward and who is not represented by a guardian.
(3) If it appears that any person not in being upon coming into being is or may become or may claim to be entitled to any interest in the property, the court shall appoint some competent and disinterested person as guardian ad litem to appear for and represent such interest in the proceeding and to defend the proceeding on behalf of the person not in being, and any judgment or order rendered in the proceeding is as effectual for all purposes as though the person were in being and were a party to the proceeding.
(e) If any defendant who constitutes an unknown or missing owner answers or otherwise appears personally, and the court finds that he is the unknown or missing owner of the severed mineral interest, the court shall enter an order determining the interest of such defendant and he shall be dismissed from the action. The appearance by a guardian ad litem appointed pursuant to subsection 11(d)(2) or subsection 11(d)(3) of this Section shall not be deemed a personal appearance within the meaning of this subsection (e). As to all other defendants and after compliance with the notice requirements provided herein, the court shall take evidence and take testimony as to the matters set forth in the petition. If upon taking evidence and hearing testimony it appears that all material allegations of the complaint are true and that there has been compliance with the notice provisions herein provided, the court shall enter a judgment that the owner of the surface estate and his heirs, successors and assigns, is from the date of the judgment exercising presumptive adverse possession of the severed mineral interests by reason of his ownership. (f) The plaintiff shall cause a report of the proceedings of the evidence received and testimony taken at the hearing on the petition to be filed and made a part of the case record.
(g) If, (1) the owners of the severed mineral interests remain unknown or missing for a period of 7 years from the date of the judgment to the effect that the owner of the surface estate overlying the severed mineral interest is exercising presumptive adverse possession over the same or, (2) the owners of the severed mineral interest remain unknown or missing for a period of one year from the date of the judgment to the effect that the owner of the surface estate overlying the severed mineral interest is exercising presumptive adverse possession over the same and the severance took place more than 20 years prior to the date of the filing of the original petition, the plaintiff or his then successor in title shall file a motion with the court renewing or supplementing the allegations of the original petition and particularly containing allegations relative to the last known address, residence or whereabouts which the plaintiff may have been able to ascertain for each defendant who constitutes an unknown or missing owner and the sources of information which plaintiff has checked in an attempt to locate the present address, residence or whereabouts of each defendant since the date of filing of the original petition. The motion shall also contain an allegation that the plaintiff, upon diligent inquiry cannot determine the defendants' current address, residence or whereabouts and that upon due inquiry said defendants cannot be found. Notice of the hearing upon the motion shall be given in the same manner as notice of the hearing upon the original petition. If any defendant who constitutes an unknown or missing owner answers or otherwise appears in response to the motion, the court shall enter an order determining the interest of such owner and shall dismiss the action as to such defendant. As to all other defendants and after compliance with the notice requirements provided herein, the court shall again take evidence and hear testimony as to the matters set forth in the original petition and in the motion. If upon taking evidence and hearing testimony it appears that all material allegations of the original complaint and of the motion are true and that there has been compliance with the notice provisions herein provided and payment by plaintiff of all taxes legally assessed on such severed mineral interests, the court shall enter a judgment declaring that the severed mineral interests are null and void due to adverse possession by the surface owner and that fee title to such severed mineral interests is vested in such surface owner. The court or such other officer appointed by the court shall then convey to the surface owners in proportion to their record interests by recordable instrument the unknown or missing owners' interest in the severed mineral interests.
(h) At any time subsequent to the entry of the judgment that the surface owner is exercising presumptive adverse possession of the severed mineral interests and prior to the entry of a judgment declaring the interest null and void, the owner of the severed mineral interest may intervene in the proceeding and upon notice to all parties who have appeared in the case as the court directs present proof of his ownership of the severed mineral interest. Upon a finding by the court that such intervenor is the owner of said severed mineral interest and upon payment to the plaintiff of all real estate taxes upon said severed mineral interest theretofore paid by the plaintiff and such reasonable attorney fees and costs as the court may allow, the court shall enter an order determining the interest of such owner and shall dismiss the action as to such intervenor.
(Source: P.A. 83-571.)


(765 ILCS 515/12) (from Ch. 96 1/2, par. 9212)
Sec. 12. If any surface owner is named as a defendant and acquires an interest in the severed mineral interest by a judgement entered in accordance with subsection (g) of Section 11, said owner shall be liable to the plaintiff for his proportionate part of any taxes paid by plaintiff corresponding to said severed mineral interest and such reasonable attorney fees and costs as the court may allow and a judgment may be entered therefor in favor of the plaintiff if they are not paid as provided by the court.
(Source: P.A. 83-571.)


(765 ILCS 515/13) (from Ch. 96 1/2, par. 9213)
Sec. 13. A trustee proceeding pursuant to Sections 3 through 8 may be commenced at any time prior to the entry of a judgment pursuant to Section 11, but if commenced after a proceeding under Section 11 is commenced, it shall also join as defendants thereto the surface owner overlying the severed mineral interest. Any mineral lease executed as a result of the trustee proceeding pursuant to Sections 3 through 8 shall be binding upon any subsequent owner of the severed mineral interest whose interest was acquired by judgment entered in accordance with Section 9 or 11.
(Source: P.A. 83-571.)


(765 ILCS 515/14) (from Ch. 96 1/2, par. 9214)
Sec. 14. This Act shall be liberally construed so that any deed issued pursuant to this Act shall convey merchantable title.
(Source: P.A. 83-571.)


(765 ILCS 515/17) (from Ch. 96 1/2, par. 9217)
Sec. 17. This Act shall be known and may be cited as the Severed Mineral Interest Act.
(Source: P.A. 83-571.)


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