It is one of the great American dreams: striking oil on your own property. However, if you were to discover valuable minerals beneath your land in Texas, it would often be both wise and profitable to slow down and look at the details. 

The reason behind this suggestion is that you could potentially earn much more from them by making the right moves in the initial stages after you strike your natural resources. It is similar to winning the lottery — the financial and legal handling of the first few steps of your mineral discovery could significantly affect long-term results.

One of the most confusing concepts you are likely to encounter is the differentiation between property rights and other elements of ownership. As explained on FindLaw, you may own your property but not the mineral rights to the resources beneath it.

A previous owner may have sold the mineral rights that would allow you to access oil, natural gas or other deposits underneath your land. As you might imagine, there are many ways that determining ownership could become complicated, whether it is because of inheritance issues, transactions involving corporations or even lack of sufficient records. 

In another scenario, it is completely possible that an investor or oil company might approach you with a proposal to buy the mineral rights for your land. It would be important in these types of situations to fully understand both the present value and future potential of any deposits to which you own the rights.

Drilling and extraction involve large capital investments. You would want to take everything into account before you act, including the estimated size of your deposit, the quality of the minerals and your rights. Please do not view this as advice of any kind. Is only meant as background information.