Plymouth County Register of Deeds John R. Buckley, Jr., spoke to the TRIAD group in Halifax on Tuesday, showing how the Registry works and what services it can offer. Ken Vinton introduced Buckley saying that it has taken two years to get him to the speaker’s platform – due to the restrictions of the pandemic – and he was happy that TRIAD could finally hear his presentation.
“We at the Registry of Deeds in Plymouth have land records that go back to 1685!” All of our deeds and mortgages and other documents are indexed, scanned as an image, and you can pull up the deed, a mortgage, the document, and a picture of the document comes up as well as the indexing information,” Buckley told the group, “making it very easy to use our site.” During the pandemic they were able to run their offices. “We are a customer service operation.”
Replicas of historic deeds were displayed including those of Deborah Sampson, Massachusetts’ official state heroine, James J. Kilroy, of the iconic “Kilroy was Here”, who was a resident of Halifax, and “Mickey” Cochrane of Bridgewater who was a baseball player, the only one from Bridgewater to be inducted into the Cooperstown Baseball Hall of Fame. Buckley offered the services of his Information Systems Administrator Christine Richards to look up deeds for those present and make a copy for them to bring home.
Buckley offered several tips on avoiding scams to do with your deed. Buckley said that Plymouth County residents are being targeted by an overpriced “service” from the out-of-state company, National Record Service Incorporated of Illinois, offering consumers certified copies of deeds for a fee of $59.50. “This issue has also come up in the past with a Washington, D.C. based company. This time the notice being sent to Plymouth County residents is even more troublesome in that it solicits credit card information from the consumer for the overpriced and generally unnecessary service.” Buckley told the group he has reported the matter to the Attorney General Consumer Protection Division for review as well as placing an advisory on the Registry’s website.
Consumers can obtain a certified copy of their deed, typically one or two pages, directly from the Plymouth County Registry for a fee of $1 per page at any of its Plymouth, Rockland, or Brockton offices. The Registry also accepts requests by mail, with a self-addressed envelope, a reference to the book and page where the deed is located and a fee of $3. Buckley encouraged any who have questions to contact the Registry’s Customer Service Department at 508-830-9200.
Buckley also encouraged those in attendance to investigate and use the protection offered to homeowners through The Homestead Act, protecting people’s primary residences against forfeiture to outside creditors. The limit for a single person’s ownership is $500,000. There is an automatic protection of $125,000 for a home that does not declare a homestead exemption with the Registry of deeds. While it may be sufficient to protect a deposit made on the estate, it is likely not sufficient to protect the full value of the home.
Another item homeowners should be aware of is the recording of the discharge of their mortgage. Banks and finance companies are not required to record the discharge of a mortgage; while some may, it is the responsibility of the homeowner to do so. The Registry of Deeds can help with this simple process that is often overlooked.
Patrolman Joe Cushman told the group to be sure to check on the visibility of their street numbers, as it can cost precious minutes just looking for the right address to respond to an emergency call. He suggested residents who need street numbers to call the fire department and they can likely help.
Dot Martel told the group that Generations will be meeting Thursday, Nov. 11, at 10 a.m. at the Police Station on the second floor.
The Generations Christmas party will be held Dec. 1 at the Holy Apostles Parish, catered by The Hitching Post restaurant in Hanson.