Thursday, June 28, 2018

Significant to notaries--Texas AG Opinion Request: Must Guadalupe County Clerk Record Electronic Documents without e-Recording System?


Recently, I ran across a pending request for an opinion by the Texas Attorney General’s (AG) Office.  
The response of Ken Paxton, Texas AG, will almost certainly affect how quickly online notarization is adopted widely in Texas and so many other things.  

How so?

Because many notaries believe that as long as counties without erecording systems in place prevail in Texas, online notary activity will be slow to expand.  The response to this request for an AG opinion will affect all of Texas as to how quickly online and electronic notarization activity can be adopted statewide.


Guadalupe County Attorney Asks for Answers

The questions posed to the Texas AG in Letter No.  RQ-0235-KP comes from Guadalupe County, Texas where clerks require hard copies be presented for recording and there is no e-recording mechanism in place.

Asst. County Attorney Robert Etlinger asks the Texas AG critically important questions to help sort out this dilemma before the problem creates a landslide of rejected recordings and other misunderstandings.

Summary of the Question (Link)


Whether a county clerk whose office does not accept electronic documents for recording must accept and record a printed copy of an electronic document that does not comply with the original signature and other requirements of certain provisions of the Property Code.

Quick Review:  What are recordable documents?


Documents that are “recorded” in the official public records of a county are primarily the kind that signing agents handle:  deeds, deeds of trust, and other documents relating to the conveyance or encumbrance of real property. 


Guadalupe County’s  Letter Summarized

Without being too technical –

A-Guadalupe County does not accept e-recordings – only original paper documents may be recorded.

B-They face problems because of experienced “Filers” who are accustom to using e-recording systems and they  believe that all they need to do is print out a copy of the e-signed and e-notarized document to record it.

C-They also face problems because some county recorders will record plain copies of documents. They do not ask for originals. That perpetuates the idea that copies can be recorded.

D-The letter lays out three types of documents; none of them are originals with ink signatures.  Can they be recorded?

E- It points out that without original documents with ink signatures (but rather hard copies of printed electronic documents) to record, there are violations of several laws of The Texas Property Code by accepting them for recording.

F-It notes that the decision on these issues will affect the future when and if the county begins to e-record documents-- once any recording of copies gets started, it will be hard to stop.

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Read the letter at the link above.  
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