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What Does a County Recorder Do?

By M. Kayo
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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A county recorder typically has the responsibility of keeping public records of actions and transactions as mandated by local, state, regional, and national government. In some countries, including the United States, these actions and transactions are recorded by governments at the county level. The county recorder may be appointed or elected to handle the various documents that make up the records for a particular community. Many different types of documents are handled by this office. While a county clerk and recorder may have similar functions or even be combined into a single office, each office has its own distinct responsibilities.

Depending upon local laws, the position of county recorder may be filled through election or appointment by some higher government authority. In some counties, the recorder and county clerk may work in the same office or even be a single individual in smaller towns and communities. In larger cities, he or she may have a staff of hundreds to assist in processing the large number of registrations, licenses, and other legal documents handled by the office. Other documents that may be handled by the county recorder's office include affidavits, mechanic liens, land surveys, military discharges, and various types of corporate papers.

The types of legal actions and transactions that are typically recorded by a county recorder include the sales or purchase of property, various legal actions between certain parties, marriage licenses, and many other types of legal documents that require an official record. He or she may also review and record all liens, mortgages, and deeds. Since they are not concerned with the contents of a document, a recorder typically does not need to know anything about the processing of deeds, loans, or other similar documents. County recorders typically record real estate transactions, land titles, and land plats. A person in this position is also responsible for collecting any fees associated with handling these documents.

A county recorder may not be the same as a county clerk in some areas. In some smaller counties and regions, the office of county clerk and county recorder may actually be held by the same person. A person in this position may also be responsible for collecting any state or local fees required for issuing a document. While these two positions may be combined in some towns or localities, there are some differences in the duties of each office. For example, a county clerk may be responsible for setting up and overseeing an election while a recorder may not.

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Discussion Comments
By Markerrag — On Nov 21, 2014

@Soulfox -- That is one of the reasons digital records are so great. You can search through a lot of those files online these days and can use search terms such as the names of people involved that make locating documents that much quicker.

A lot of country recorders have already switched to digital, searchable files and those that have not will probably do it soon.

By Soulfox — On Nov 20, 2014

It is pretty incredible how much stuff can be filed with the county recorder. Sure, you've got deeds and the typical stuff that you might expect, but there are all kinds of documents that are filed with the country recorder. For example, you might get a power of attorney filed there and the revocation might be filed in that office, too. There is really no limit to the kinds of documents that can be filed with a recorder.

For that reason, the county recorder's office typically features a huge number of documents and an extremely complicated filing system.

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