Lowell Deeds

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

June 22, 2009

Defective Acknowledgements

by @ 3:24 pm. Filed under Real Estate

Last week I wrote a post about In re Giroux, a Bankruptcy Court case (District of Massachusetts) in which the judge held that a second mortgage on which the acknowledgement clause was incomplete (”. . . then personally appeared ____ and acknowledged the foregoing . . .”) was improperly recorded by the registry of deeds. The court held that for a document to be recordable, the acknowledgement clause had to be complete. Since then, we have come across numerous already recorded documents that suffer from this same defect. An attorney also contacted me to say he had discovered two such documents in the chain of title of a property he was examining.

I’m not really sure how we at the registry should react to this case. Our attitude, and the attitude of the Deed Indexing Standards, has been to liberally interpret that acknowledgement - if there’s something there that looks like an aknowledgement by a notary public, we’ll take the document. But this case suggests we must set the threshold for recording much higher; that we should closely examine the acknowledgement clause of each document and, if there are any departures from the standard wording, we should not record the document. I suspect that this is not the last time I’ll be writing something about this case.

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