DEFINITION of Register of Deeds
A register of deeds is a record of real estate deeds or other land titles that is maintained by a local government official. The register of deeds will be used in conjunction with a grantor-grantee index that lists the owner of record and any transfers of property.
BREAKING DOWN Register of Deeds
While the register of deeds is available for public viewing, it generally requires some time and government assistance to access particular mortgage records or deeds. In the United States, the register of deeds will usually be maintained on the county, town or state level.
The Importance of the Register of Deeds for Authenticating Records
A register of deeds refers to a specific position within a government that oversees the actual records in question. In many instances, this is an elected position with a term that could last four years. In addition to real estate and property records, the register of deeds may be also be responsible for the issuance of marriage licenses, the handling of notary commissions, and military discharge recordings.
The office could be assigned to file Uniform Commercial Code financing statements on personal property, which record and protect a secured party’s interest in the collateral offered by a debtor for a loan. The office of the register of deeds might also handle the issuance of birth and death certificates. The collection of public records that the register of deeds oversees and is responsible for could extend back to the first documents kept by the government. This could allow for the history of ownership of a property to be conducted to the original deed holders. Identifying records such as birth and death certificates can also be searched for back to the earliest available documents held by the respective government.
Specific duties of a register of deeds can vary by jurisdiction. Their responsibilities may extend to certain fraud prevention responsibilities. This can relate to identity theft, which could include the misuse of personal records such as birth certificates. As a government entity, the register might take steps to remind citizens of scammers who offer to sell them documents such as deeds by reaching out to them through unsolicited mail or other forms of contact.
The office of the register of deeds might charge differ fees for copies, depending on the type of record or document sought. For example, the cost for a copy of a deed might be $30 while other documents could be charged at a per page fee.