Get ready county clerks, because this post is just for you…
A common question posed to the analysts here at TSLAC concerns the difference between records series on Local Schedule CC that look nearly identical but have different retention periods. A good example is series CC1400-11 and CC1400-10. Both are for deputation records, but only one has permanent retention. Why?
Keen-eyed readers and seasoned clerks will immediately spot the difference between them. CC1400-11 is for filed notices while CC1400-10 is reserved for recorded notices. How do you know if the legal document, commonly called an instrument in legalese, in front of you is filed or recorded? Consult the County Clerk’s Manual. That’s what I do when I need to understand a county clerk’s duties. Chapter 2 of the 2013 Edition discusses filing and recording documents.
Filing begins when the clerk takes physical possession of an instrument, at which point it is considered “conditionally filed.” The clerk then records (1) the names of the parties to the instrument in alphabetical order, (2) the date of the instrument, (3) the nature of the instrument, and (4) the time that the instrument was filed. The clerk must provide the filer with a receipt containing this information. The clerk maintains physical possession of the instrument.
Recording an instrument, on the other hand, involves recording the contents of the filed instrument and any acknowledgment, proof, affidavit, or certificate attached to it. Recording comes after filing. The instrument can be copied or scanned, then placed in a suitable storage medium. For paper records, this has traditionally been a “well-bound book.” The clerk then certifies the document with signature and seal. Finally, the clerk must index all recorded instruments. Generally, the clerk then returns the original instrument and a copy of the clerk’s certification to the filer. For some instruments, the clerk keeps the original instrument instead of a copy.
So next time you’re looking at two nearly identical record series on schedule CC and wondering which one to use, check if one is for recorded copies and the other is for filed or not recorded copies. If you need assistance, be sure to contact your analyst. We’re here to help.