Earlier today a customer called to ask what were our requirements for a document to be considered a “certified copy.” Was an original signature from the registry required? An original date? Or was the rubber inked stamp sufficient?
The Massachusetts Deed Indexing Standards state the following about the recording of certified copies:
7-2 CERTIFIED COPIES – HOW RECORDEDCopies certified by another registry of deeds, a court, or a governmental entity at the federal, state, county or municipal level may be recorded at the registry of deeds. If the certification appears on aseparate page, that page shall be treated as another page of the document (i.e., a single piece of paper that contains the printed document on one side and the certification on the other should be considered to be a two-page document).
Out own process for certifying documents is to use an inked rubber stamp that contains the following language:
COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS
This is a true copy of an instrument recorded in MIDDLESEX NORTH DISTRICT REGISTRY OF DEEDS at the time and date noted on the first page thereof.A true copy Attest Richard P. Howe Jr., Register
We don’t add a date to the certification stamp nor do we add a raised seal or a ribbon. It’s very minimalist. The annotations we make to documents during the recording process have also been reduced. Up until a decade ago, we used to place the book and page number on each page of a document. Now, that recording information is only placed on the first page of the document. Formerly, we used a rubber stamp to add “End of Document” at the end of document. We no longer do that, either. The main reason we have dispensed with these added annotations is efficiency. With more documents and fewer employees, streamlining the recording process was essential to the continuation of prompt document processing. As for the ability to authenticate that what purports to be a certified copy of a document is in fact the entire document as recorded, with all document images freely available online at any time, any questions that arise as to the completeness of one of our certified documents can be immediately answered with an internet connection.