Land Registration is a separate system of recording documents. The Land Court is a Department of the Massachusetts Trial Court, which determines ownership of real property that has been disputed. The Registry of Deeds operates as a Registry District of the Land Court. After the Land Court renders its decision as to the ownership and boundary lines of real property, the ownership of that parcel can never again be disputed. The Registered Land section retains all original documents that are registered, including the original deed. A parcel of land can be registered with the Land Court even if there is no dispute, but the cost for the official title search, survey of the property, petition and other fees are substantial and time consuming.
In Registered Land, the Registry of Deeds issues a Certificate of Title when a deed is put on record. The Certificate of Title is a decree in which the Land Court declares that a particular person is the owner of a particular parcel of property, and any document that affects the ownership of that parcel is annotated on the back of the same Certificate of Title, until the property is sold to a new owner.
Erroneous recording of Registered Land:
The customer is solely responsible for recording (“registering”) Registered Land documents in the correct section of the Registry of Deeds. While Registry personnel will make every effort to record documents in the correct section of the Registry of Deeds, this is only a courtesy, and the Registry of Deeds bears no responsibility for recording documents in the correct Registry section. Should a document be recorded in the wrong Registry section, it is the full and total responsibility of the customer to correct such error at his/her own expense.
If you are unsure whether or not your property is Registered Land, please contact the Registry of Deeds before presenting your document. Registry personnel can be reached at 413-772-0239.
In most cases the requirements for Registered Land documents are the same as those for Recorded Land, however, some additional requirements are as follows:
All documents pertaining to Registered Land must note the Certificate of Title number, relevant document number and book and page number of the Certificate. Registry employees are not permitted to add any information to documents. If this information is missing, your document will not be registered.
Deeds require a Lot number, a plan number, a grantee address, consideration, property address, “being” clause and the grantor must be the same as that on the current Certificate of Title.
Mortgages are required to have an Exhibit containing the property description, which must have the certificate number, plan number and a lot number.
The Land Court must approve all Fiduciary Deeds. If such a deed does not have a stamp stating that it has been approved by the Land Court, it will not be registered.
When one tenant by the entirety named on a Certificate of Title has died, a Death Certificate and a Certificate of No Divorce must be filed.
All documents presented for Registration must be originals, and these originals will be retained by the Registry of Deeds. If the property in question relates to both Registered and Recorded land, you must do one of two things: a) obtain two sets of originals – one for Registered Land and one for Recorded Land, or b) Register your documents first, have certified copies made of the Registered Land documents, then record the certified copies in Recorded Land.
A Discharge of mortgage signed by a bank that is not the original Lender must have a previously registered Assignment of Mortgage or some documented proof of authority of said bank to release the mortgage. Discharges, Partial Releases or Assignments of Mortgage must reference the document number of the mortgage being discharged, partially released or assigned.
UCCs must be signed by the debtor
Most documents filed in the Registry District that can stand alone must be filed separately (i.e. do not attach a Death Certificate to any other document). Please call with any questions before presenting documents for registration.
William Francis Galvin, Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts