Most people know that the Register of Deeds office is responsible for the filling of deeds, but did you know that the Register of Deeds office also records several hundred different kinds of documents? In addition to the recording of deeds, the office of Register of Deeds records a diverse range of very technical documents. The title Register of Deeds is a misnomer.
The Recorder is required to: record all documents submitted by the public which are qualified to be recorded; maintain an up-to-date and accurate set of indexes which show the correct ownership of land in the entire county; and perform all functions of clerical and technical nature to accomplish that objective. This necessarily includes the administrative functions of providing for qualified personnel and training of such personnel.
The Recorder is charged by law with passing upon the sufficiency of records presented to them and displaying those records for the use of the public. It must be remembered however, that the recorder is not a guarantor of title, nor are staff members trained in the art of providing title searches.
An essential consideration guiding the work of a Recorder is that all records are required to be open to public inspection, except those prohibited by law, during regular business hours. Members of the public are entitled to rely upon the accuracy of records within the office. If a recorder neglects or refuses to maintain the office as specified and required by state law, damages to users of these records may result. Accuracy thus becomes a critical and overriding concern in the entire operation, which explains the resultant higher ratio of times spent in production than would normal in a commercial business operation where the primary concern is profit.
All of the services offered by the Register of Deeds office are fee based, paying for the operation of the recorder’s office. The Register of Deeds office generates a sizable income that is deposited into the county general fund and administered by the Board of County Commissioners.
The Register of Deeds office is the place where all transactions having to do with land, including most liens and mortgages, are recorded and maintained so that the public is made aware of their existence. This also the where fixture filings are filed under the Uniform Commercial Code. Also found in the Register of Deeds office, are the records that were once the property of the county superintendent.
These records are used to provide name and age information for social security purposes and to certify early teaching records. The Register of Deeds office is also the proper place for military discharge records to be recorded.
A number of steps are taken when a document is delivered or mailed for recording. The document is given a book and page number and entered by name and legal description in various indexes. The indexes are used to provide easy access to the land records.
Attorneys, financial institutions, buyers, sellers, real estate developers, surveyors, landlords, tenants and abstract and title companies, to name just a few, all rely upon the correct recording of instruments relating to real estate.
The position of Register of Deeds requires a very unique, skilled, intelligent and detail-oriented individual to correctly perform the duties of a Register of Deeds. The State of Kansas has many statutes that govern the recording of instruments in the office of Register of Deeds. Therefore, the Register of Deeds position requires an individual who has the ability to understand and apply these statutes to the process of recording the various instruments affecting real estate.
When one focuses on the financial aspects of government, it can be argued that the operation of the entire county government depends upon the Register of Deeds office. Taxation of real property is the cornerstone of financing local government operation.
Determining the ownership of real property is thus essential to the tax assessment function. In addition, the records must accurately reflect the status of each individual tract of land, its dimensions and location, and the names of the owners.
The Register of Deeds office performs some very important functions. Other organization, local government departments and individuals depend upon the accuracy of the information provided to them by the Register of Deeds office. The individual filing the position of Register of Deeds must possess a high degree of skill, education and experience with real estate descriptions, principles of conveyance and land transaction, in general.
As you can see, the register of Deeds performs functions essential to local government and the general public.