Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Document Formatting Standards

As we’ve mentioned here before, a new version of the Massachusetts Deed Indexing Standards is in the works. Next week, the Registers of Deeds Association will meet to refine the most recent draft. We expect the new version will go into effect on January 1, 2006, however, the “Document Formatting Standards” section, because it has such far reaching consequences for document preparations, should have a one year grace period. For the first year, therefore, the Document Formatting Standards should be advisory only but will become mandatory on January 1, 2007. Of course, this is just my expectation of what will happen – nothing is definite yet. Here is a preview of the formatting standards that are being proposed – all subject to revision, of course. Documents shall be on white 20-pound paper without watermarks. All document pages and attachments must be on paper that is a minimum size of 8.5 inches by 12 inches or a maximum paper size of 8.5 inches by 14 inches. Printing shall be on one side of page only; no double-sided pages will be accepted. 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. All documents must be printed or typed in a font size no smaller than 10 point Times New Roman or equivalent. Blanks in an instrument and corrections to an instrument may be made in pen. Signatures shall be in either black or dark blue ink. Names shall be typed, stamped or printed beneath all written signatures.
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. Do not use colored markers to highlight text. That’s it. Please send me any comments you may have.

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