Note: The DearEsq free 'ask a lawyer' site is offered as a free informational service to the public and is not intended as legal advice. Laws vary from state-to-state, and in addition every situation is unique, and relevant facts may not be known. The answer to the question posed below may not apply to in your state or to your situation. For legal advice in your state and your situation you should consult with an attorney in your state who is familiar with the rules and laws in your state.
Question: I live in the state of Illinois. Can land and minerals that have a land patent on them be sold? The record books in our recorder’s office show there are well over 3,000 illegal land mineral deeds.
A land patent is just a grant from the sovereign (either the state or the Federal government) to someone. A grant can have reversionary rights — for example, that you give the land to Mr. X for 20 years, but then it reverts back to you — but more typically land grants are without restriction.
Once that someone owns the land, the owner is free to sell to anyone they want to. Mining or other mineral rights work much the same way — though they can, and often are, transferred separately from the land itself.
If a deed is illegal, that’s one thing, but the mere fact of a historical patent doesn’t necessarily restrict transfer.