That Recorded Deed Notice you just got in the mail – It’s a big bunch of HOOEY! If you’re a client of Ingle Law, and recently implemented a trust as part of your estate plan, you probably know the notice I’m talking about. If you haven’t gotten that far in your planning yet, this is what it looks like:
The misleading notices are issued by Record Transfer Services a Westlake Village, California company. And they’ve been landing in some pretty hot water for it too. The Better Business Bureau in California gives them an F grade, presumably because of close to 70 complaints against the company. A quick Google search yields all sorts of warning articles from Memphis, Tennessee to Virginia to Iowa… and those are just the first few that pop up.
Their mailing is made to appear to come from a government agency, and sound like consumers have a responsibility to accept their offer. They avoid outright fraud charges by saying in the fine print that consumers are not required to send payment, and copies of the promised documents may be obtained elsewhere for less.
I won’t come out and say it’s a scam, because you are offered something in return for your $83, but it’s nothing you can’t already get for free, and it’s nothing you need quite as much as Record Transfer Services would like you to think. In Massachusetts, all deeds and other recorded or registered land records going back to 1974 are freely available via the internet directly from the Register of Deeds for your county. You can find links to all the counties by going to the state’s main portal for Registries of Deeds. Older than 1974 are still freely available, but you may need to travel to the registry itself or hire a real estate title examiner to look up the document in question.
BOTTOM LINE: Don’t fall for it! If you have any questions about any notices you receive in the mail, always feel free to give us a call. This is the reason for our ongoing services plans – you have nothing to lose by running something by us first.