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Posts Tagged ‘affidavit of correction’

Changes to Recording Fees & Social Security Protection

Effective June 25, 2010 the cost to record a real estate document in the County Register of Deeds office will be $30 regardless of the number of pages.

Formerly, the fee was based on the number of pages in a document: $11 for the first page and $2 for each additional page. This old fee structure made it difficult to give exact quotes prior to closing. The new fee will, on average, not add much in total fees and will add certainty to transactions. Lenders and Realtors will be able to give exact quotes for recording fees.

Five dollars of the new fee is designated for the removal of social security numbers from all public documents. The recording fee will revert to $25 upon the earliest of the following 1) the Register of Deeds has successfully redacted all social security numbers from electronic format; 2) January 1, 2012, unless an extension of time is granted by DOA; or 3) January 1, 2015.

New Rules for Correcting Errors in Recorded Documents

Errors in recorded documents are common and unavoidable. Everyone makes mistakes from time to time. It is how we correct those mistakes that separates us.

For over a decade, the tool for correcting a mistake was an “Affidavit of Correction.” If a deed or a mortgage contained an error, the title company or an attorney would record an Affidavit that described the error and showed how it was to be corrected. For instance, if a deed omitted a Buyer’s middle initial, the title company would file an affidavit of correction that stated: “The Deed recorded on May 24th omitted John D. Smith’s middle initial. The Buyer’s correct name is John D. Smith.”

In 2007, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals ruled in Smiljanic v. Niedermeyer, 2007 WI App 182, 737 N.W.2d 436, that using Affidavits of Correction to correct errors is not proper because there is no Statute in Wisconsin that authorizes the use of this tool. This new ruling not only made it much more difficult to correct errors, it called into question all of the past Affidavits that had been filed.

A new law now authorizes the use of Affidavits of Correction in certain circumstances and describes who must sign the document.

What May Be Corrected? A corrective instrument may be used to correct a legal description (such as a distance; unit, or building number; subdivision or condominium name, etc.), a party’s name or marital status, homestead information, dates, notary information, and a number of other issues.

Who May Sign? The new law provides that the person who may sign is a “…person having personal knowledge of the circumstances of the conveyance and of the facts recited in the correction instrument, including the grantor, the grantee, the person who drafted the conveyance that is the subject of the correction instrument, or the person who acted as the settlement agent in the transaction…” In other words, the title company, any party, or an attorney involved in the transaction can all sign.

In certain circumstances, however, only a party can sign. For instance, if a buyer is to be removed from title, THAT buyer must sign. If a parcel is corrected to add land, the Sellers must sign. 

What About Old Affidavits of Correction? The new law “grandfathers” in old Affidavits of Correction if they would be valid under the new law.

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