Lowell Deeds

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

September 23, 2008

Multiple Documents

by @ 4:18 pm. Filed under Indexing

Earlier this year, much attention was paid to so-called “multifunction documents.” Such a document would consist of a single paper that performed multiple functions. The most common example is probably a single document that discharges a mortgage, an assignment of leases and rents and a UCC financing statement. That document performs three separate functions. The
Appeals Court, in the Patriot Resort case, ruled that the plain language of the recording statute allowed the registry to only charge a single fee - $75 – for such a recording. In an outside section to the FY09 budget, however, the legislature amended the recording statute to charge a separate fee “for each document referenced.” Consequently, the fee to record the document described above would be $205 - $75 for the discharge of mortgage, $75 for the discharge of the assignment of rents, and $45 for the termination of the filing statement.

A related formatting practice that has largely gone unnoticed is called a “multiple document” in which a document that would be recordable in its own right (such as a death certificate or trustee’s certificate) is attached to another document (such as a deed) as an exhibit. Today I received the following email from an area law office:

There has been discussion on various list serves of incorporating a trustee certificate inside a deed. We have questioned a few attorneys and they confirm they routinely do it. We are wondering if we adopt the same practice could we save our clients the extra $75 of a separate filing fee. (This is simply for a deed out of a nominee trust. Thoughts?

Here’s my response:

The Massachusetts Deed Indexing Standards (standard 7-9) specifically prohibit that practice so if the registry personnel spot the attached certificate, they should refuse to record the document. The deed and the trustee certificate should be recorded as separate documents. I suspect that the enforcement of this and the rules regarding “multifunction” documents (such as a discharge that discharges both a mortgage and an assignment of leases and rents) will be enforced more strictly in the coming weeks.

As the economy worsens, there will be more pressure to save on recording fees, but there will be equal pressure on the registry to maximize the revenue coming into the state.

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