Indexing Standards - Full Text
MASSACHUSETTS REGISTERS AND ASSISTANT REGISTERS OF DEEDS ASSOCIATION
DEED INDEXING STANDARDS FOR THE COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS
Deed Indexing Standards (Version 4.0) For the Commonwealth of Massachusetts January 1, 2008
TABLE OF CONTENTS
ATTACHMENT – DISSOLUTION OF (MGL c.223, s.132) ATTACHMENT - EXPIRATION OF (MGL c.223, s.114A) ATTACHMENT OF REAL ESTATE (MGL c.223, ss.63, 64) CLERK’S CERTIFICATE (MGL c.184, s.16)
DIVORCE DECREE (MGL c.183, s.44) DRUG FORFEITURES (MGL c.94C, s.47)
LEVY MADE VOID BY OPERATION OF LAW LIS PENDENS (MGL c.184, s.15)
PURCHASE AND SALE AGREEMENT (MGL c.184, s17A) TENANTS BY THE ENTIRETY
First adopted on January 1, 2000, the Deed Indexing Standards for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts have gone through several revisions by the Massachusetts Registers and Assistant Registers of Deeds Association. The most significant change to this version is the adoption of new Document Formatting Standards (Section 10 on page 13). The Association’s intent is to record documents, not to reject them because of hyper-technical interpretations of these new Formatting Standards. Still, we cannot forget that perhaps the most important responsibility of the Register of Deeds is to ensure that the records created for the use of future generations are legible – so documents presented for recording that do not meet our standards for reproduction will be rejected.
As for the overall effort at standardization, what was said in the introduction to the last version of this document remains true today:
Each of the following Standards reflects the practice of the great majority of the Massachusetts Registries of Deeds. Despite the best efforts of the registries, however, universal acceptance of and compliance with these Standards is a practical impossibility. Different computer systems and capabilities and hundreds of years of local precedent cannot be ignored or erased overnight. Recognizing this, and acknowledging that we have a responsibility to fully inform registry users of how local practices deviate from these Standards, each registry should develop and make available to the public a Local Supplement to the Deed Indexing Standards that clearly explains how that registry’s practices differ from these statewide Standards.
Finally, if you have any questions or comments about these standards, please direct them to Richard P. Howe Jr., the Register of Deeds at the Middlesex North District by telephone (978/322-9000), mail (360 Gorham Street, Lowell MA 01852) or by email (firstname.lastname@example.org)..
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DOCUMENTS REQUIRING ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
The following types of instruments shall not be accepted for recording unless properly acknowledged in a manner authorized by Massachusetts General Laws chapter 183, section 30 and by these rules:
- Deeds (excepting conveyances from the United States); see MGL Chapter 183, sec. 29. The term “deeds” shall broadly construed to include all types of deeds, with or without covenants, including mortgage and easement deeds; also included are boundary line agreements, leases, terminations of leases, and notices of leases including assignments of leases, collateral or conditional assignment of leases, options to lease and assignments of same, options to purchase including assignments of same and deeds of trust, as opposed to declarations of trust.
- Purchase and Sale Agreements (MGL Chapter 184, sec. 17A)
- Discharges and Partial Releases (MGL Chapter 183, secs. 54, 54B, and 54C)
- Powers of Attorney (MGL Chapter 183, sec. 32)
- Homesteads and Releases of same (MGL Chapter 188)
- Receipts of federal revenues for succession taxes (MGL Chapter 36, sec. 16)
- Subdivision Covenant Releases and Clerk’s Certificates (MGL Chapter 41, sec. 81U)
- Tax Redemptions (MGL Chapter 60, sec. 62)
- Incorporation Certificates re Roman Catholic Church (MGL Chapter 68, sec. 44)
- Liens for failure to reimburse the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for removal of wharves or piers (MGL Chapter 91, sec 49B)
- Veteran’s Agent Liens and Discharges or Satisfactions thereof (MGL Chapter 115, sec. 5A)
- Dissolutions of attachments by plaintiff, or his executor, administrator or attorney of record (MGL Chapter 223, sec. 132)
- Notices or other instruments required or permitted to be recorded by MGL Chapter 254 (MGL Chapter 254, sec. 30)
- Release of Notice of Contract
- Planning Board Release
- Declaration of Trust
- Resignation of Trustee
- Release of Damages (General Releases)
- Certification of translation of foreign language document
- Instrument types not contained in this list shall be accepted for recording whether or not they are acknowledged.
- Size of Plan. Plan sizes shall be a minimum of eight and one-half inches by eleven inches (8 1/2" x 11") and a maximum of twenty-four inches by thirty-six inches (24" x 36")
- Plan Material. Plans being presented for recording shall be on linen or polyester film (“mylar”), single matte with a thickness of .003 mils1, and must have an opacity
so as to allow consistent computer scanning and Diazo and microfilm reproduction.
- Type of Ink. All plans shall be prepared using a compatible ink with excellent cohesiveness which will produce a permanent bond and result in a plan with long term durability. All signatures must be in black India ink or its equal.
- Plan Reproductions. Linen or polyester reproductions shall be accepted for recording provided they contain original signatures and comply with the other requirements for the recording of plans.
- Borders. Each plan shall have three quarter inch (3/4") borders.
- Size of Letters. The minimum letter size on plans presented for recording shall be one-eighth (1/8") if free-hand lettering is used and one-tenth inch (1/10") if lettering guides are used.
- Graphic Scale. Each plan presented for recording shall include a graphic scale.
- Recitations or Certifications. Each plan shall have an area reserved to receive planning board recitation or contain a surveyors certification as per Chapter 380, Acts of 1966 (G.L. c. 41, s. 81x).
- “Registry Square.” Each sheet of each plan shall have a three and one-half (3 1/2") square
- Certification Clause. Each plan must contain a certification clause signed by the person preparing the plan stating that he has conformed with the rules and regulations of the Registers of Deeds in preparing the plan.
- No Tape or Raised Print. No tape adhesion or the like shall be placed on any plan presented for recording or registration. Plans presented for recording shall not contain any raised print.
1 The language “.003 mils” is an apparent scrivener’s error in the regulations approved in 1988 which are understood to have established a thickness standard of three thousandths of an inch. The thickness should read “.003 inches” or “3 mils” which are the same thing. The above language will remain, however, until the regulations can be formally amended.
SOME RELEVANT STATUTES
Following are summaries and citations to a few of the many statutes that are relevant to land recording and registry operations.
ATTACHMENT – DISSOLUTION OF (MGL c.223, s.132)
An attachment shall be dissolved by a release signed and acknowledged by the plaintiff or by his executor, administrator or attorney of record and recorded in the registry of deeds, or by a certificate from the clerk of court in which the action was pending that the attachment has been dissolved or that the action has finally been determined.
ATTACHMENT - EXPIRATION OF (MGL c.223, s.114A)
An attachment shall expire by operation of law six years from the date of recording at the registry of deeds unless the register of deeds shall, within said period and at the written request of the plaintiff or his attorney, bring forward such attachment. The request to bring forward said attachment must be in writing and signed by the plaintiff or his attorney. The request must be accompanied by the applicable recording fee and shall be recorded and indexed by the registry. Within six years of the date that such a request to bring forward was recorded, a second or subsequent request may also be recorded.
ATTACHMENT OF REAL ESTATE (MGL c.223, ss.63, 64)
The officer who makes an attachment of real estate shall deposit a certified copy of such attachment and so much of his return thereon as relates to the attachment in the registry of deeds for the district where the land lies.
CLERK’S CERTIFICATE (MGL c.184, s.16)
At any time after final judgment or a decree in favor of the defendant, or after the discontinuance, dismissal or other final disposition, the clerk of the court where such disposition is recorded shall upon demand give a certificate of the fact of such disposition. Such clerk’s certificate may be recorded in the applicable registry of deeds.
DIVORCE DECREE (MGL c.183, s.44)
The recording of a duly certified copy of a divorce decree in the registry of deeds of the district where said real estate is situated, shall have the same force and effect as if a duly executed deed, conveyance or release had so been recorded. MGL c.183, s.44. For example, if a decree of divorce orders the conveyance of real property, a certified copy of the divorce decree may be recorded in lieu of a deed. The recording fee for the divorce decree is $75.
DRUG FORFEITURES (MGL c.94C, s.47)
MGL c.94C, s.47 sets out the procedure to be followed for the forfeiture of real property (and other items) used in connection with violations of the state’s Controlled Substance Act. Section 47 explains how to determine a court’s jurisdiction in such a case, the procedure to be followed, the type of notices and other documents that should be recorded at the registry of deeds, and the effect of the Declaration of Homestead on such matters.
LEVY MADE VOID BY OPERATION OF LAW
If a levy on execution shall not have been completed by set-off within six years from the date on which notice of the execution was deposited with the registry of deeds, the levy shall be void as to any land within such registry district unless within said six year period it shall be brought forward in such registry by written request of the plaintiff or his attorney which request shall indexed and recorded at said registry upon the payment of the applicable recording fee.
LIS PENDENS (MGL c.184, s.15)
PURCHASE AND SALE AGREEMENT (MGL c.184, s17A)
No purchase and sale agreement shall be recorded in any registry of deeds unless such agreement is acknowledged by the parties agreeing to sell such real estate or one of them. MGL c.184, s.17A.
TENANTS BY THE ENTIRETY
A deed that conveys title to two individuals as Tenants by the Entirety may be recorded even when there is no mention of “husband and wife” or “married to each other” or similar language.
For More Information Contact:
Plymouth County Registry of Deeds
50 Obery St Plymouth MA 02360