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(1) The lessee may assign any lease, either in whole or as to subdivisions of land embracing not less than 40 acres, to any person, qualified as provided under the law and this subchapter. Such assignment is not, however, binding upon the state until filed in duplicate executed copies on the form prescribed by the department, accompanied by a fee together with proof of qualifications of the assignee as a lessee, and until the assignment is approved by the department. For the purposes of this rule, any lot, platted according to the governmental survey, is deemed to be a legal subdivision of land embracing 40 acres. The approval of any assignment so filed and supported may not be withheld in any case where the rights or interests of the state in the premises assigned will not, in the judgment of the department, be prejudiced thereby. Until such an assignment is approved the lessee of record continues to be fully liable and responsible for all of the requirements and obligations of the lease.

(2) In the case of a partial assignment, i.e., assignment of a full interest in only a portion of the leased premises, a new lease shall be issued for the assigned acreage, with the same expiration date as the original lease.

(3) The assignment of a lease, either in whole or in part, to more than one assignee will be permitted if the proposed assignment is otherwise in compliance with the foregoing requirements. However, no such assignment may be approved until one of the assignees is designated to act as agent for the purpose of receiving any and all notices from the department given in connection with the lease and meeting all requirements and obligations under lease.

(4) Assignment of undivided, fractional interests in any lease, either as to the whole of the leased premises, or to any portion may be arranged by having the lessee assign title to the acreage in question to himself and the assignee. The assignment may show the respective shares of interest but the transaction is approved as a transfer of title only and without recognition of the respective interests.

(5) Assignments involving overriding royalties or containing certain reservations by the assignee are approved as transfers of title only and without recognition of such overriding royalties or special terms and conditions.

(6) Evidence of transfers by operation of law should be in the form of a certified copy of the appropriate court order or decree or similar document. A transfer by operation of law to an unqualified person may be recognized by the department for a period of time sufficient to transfer the interest to a qualified person.

History: 77-6-104, MCA; IMP, 77-3-105, MCA; NEW, 1981 MAR p. 1920, Eff. 1/1/82; TRANS, 1996 MAR p. 2384.

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