Lowell Deeds

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

September 12, 2006

Document Formatting Standards

by @ 11:54 am. Filed under Indexing

Yesterday’s mail brought a document that was so poorly drafted that it took many minutes of close scrutiny to even determine that it was a deed. Since it did meet the minimum requirements now in effect, we did record it. While scrutinizing this document, I couldn’t help but notice the microscopic margins (1/16th of an inch) left by the drafter. This experience reminded me that the Massachusetts Association of Registers and Assistant Registers of Deeds have already adopted Document Formatting Standards that will take effect on January 1, 2007. The standards are as follows:

Documents recorded after January 1, 2007 must meet the following requirements:

10-1 Be on white 20-pound paper without watermarks

10-2 All document pages and attachments must be on paper that is a minimum size of
8.5 inches by 11 inches or a maximum paper size of 8.5 inches by 14 inches.

10-3 Printing shall be on one side of page only; no double-sided pages will be accepted.

10-4 On the first page of a document, the top margin shall be 3 inches; the side and bottom margins shall be 1 inch. On second and subsequent pages of the same document, all margins shall be 1 inch.

10-5 All documents must be printed or typed in a font size no smaller than 10 point Times New Roman or equivalent.

10-6 Blanks in an instrument and corrections to an instrument may be made in pen.

10-7 Signatures shall be in either black or dark blue ink. Names shall be typed, stamped or printed beneath all written signatures.

10-8 All documents must display on the first line of print on the first page a single title identifying the recordable event that the instrument represents.

10-9 Do not use colored markers to highlight text.

While the deed cited above would certainly violate these standards, my cursory examination of other documents recorded at this registry during the past few days disclosed that hardly any of them meet these formatting standards. Unless registry users and registry officials (myself included) devise a realistic implementation plan between now and January 1, we will suffer disastrous consequences come the first of the year. We will write more about this topic in the weeks to come.

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