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How A Drilling Lease Complicates Wills And Trusts

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The Pennsylvania Judicial Center

The latest industry to get a second-hand boost from natural gas drilling: trust and estate-planning.

The Legal Intelligencer examines how royalty payments and lease agreements can complicate wills:

Trusts and estates lawyers in Central and Western Pennsylvania said they’ve seen an uptick in inquiries from landowners with oil and gas interests who are interested in beginning the process of estate planning.

But, those lawyers added, there are several schools of thought regarding when — and even if — it’s advisable for a landowner to consider gifting those interests.

R. Douglas DeNardo — a shareholder at Rothman Gordon in Pittsburgh and chairman of the firm’s estates, trusts and taxation department — said inquiries have been “way up” recently, mostly from people who own land in the Utica Shale regions of Western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio, where there are high concentrations of so-called “wet” gas.

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