Lowell Deeds

The latest on real estate recordings and new technology from the Middlesex North Registry of Deeds in Lowell

December 15, 2005

Standards & SSNs

by @ 12:30 pm. Filed under Indexing

Here’s an email I received from another registry with a question about Indexing Standard 2-1 which states that registries will not accept documents that contain social security numbers.

We have a question regarding Page 4, Secion 2. Social Security Numbers: Paragraph 2-1 DOCUMENT PRESENTED FOR RECORDING: Are death certificates supposed to be included with documents accepted with a SS # (copy then made, SS # whited out and scanned and copy made leaving SS# and saved in file)?

Here’s my response:

I think you’re correct. Indexing Standard 2-1 says that no document containing a social security number shall be accepted for recording. State or federal tax liens are identified as exceptions to this rule. After we adopted this rule (June 2005), someone pointed out that city and town clerks are required to collect the social security numbers of decedants (along with a variety of other information). The forms used by some clerks for death certificates do include social security numbers. Since the law requires the clerk to collect that information (although it doesn’t require the clerk to put it in the death certificate), I think we should accept death certificates that contain SSNs but once we have taken possession of them, we should make an unaltered non-public copy and then white out the SSN on the original and scan that for our public records.

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