Document Definitions

Definitions of Commonly Recorded Documents

The following is a list of some documents that may be recorded if they meet all requirements, and a description or definition of each document.  The descriptions are general and are not intended to be complete legal definitions.  If you wish to use any particular document; we suggest that you consult a real estate professional or an attorney.

Abstract of Judgment

A court-issued money judgment to secure payment to the judgment creditor and when recorded, it creates a general lien on real property of the judgment debtor in the county in which the abstract is recorded.

Affidavit of Death

A document recorded to verify the death and identify the decedent as a former interest holder in the specifically-described or referred to real property.

Agreement

Specifies agreement to terms and conditions relating to real property

Assignment of Deed of Trust/Mortgage

The transfer/sale of a Deed of Trust (loan or debt) from the current lender (beneficiary) to a new beneficiary, which gives them the right to collect the payment of the debt.

Assumption Agreement

Evidences the transfer of an obligation on a Deed of Trust from one owner to another owner.

Certificate of Non-Attachment

Evidences the exemption of a specific property from the effect of a federal tax lien.

Certification of Trust

Evidences the existence of a trust.

Declaration of Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions

Document recorded to specify the limitations or qualifications on land use imposed in a conveyance or other instrument.

Declaration of Homestead

A document recorded by either a homeowner or head of household on his primary residence to protect his home from forced sale in satisfaction of certain types of creditors’ claims.

Decree of Distribution

Evidences the distribution of real property from the estate of a deceased person.

Deed of Trust/Mortgage

To evidence a three party security instrument conveying title to land as security for the performance of an obligation.

Easement

An interest in land owned by another that entitles its holder to a specific limited use, such as laying a sewer, putting up electric lines or crossing the property.

Grant Deed

Transfers title to real property.

Leases

To evidence the conveyance of real property for a term of years and a contract of its possession during that term.

Lien

An encumbrance which makes property security for the payment of a debt or the discharge of an obligation.

Mechanic’s Lien

A document recorded to create a lien in favor of persons contributing labor, material, supplies, etc., to a work or improvement upon real property.

Notice of Assessment

Evidences the imposition of a tax, charge, or levy.

Notice of Cessation

Evidences that the work on a project has ceased prior to completion.

Notice of Completion

A document recorded to evidence that a work of improvement on real property other than public works is completed.

Notice of Default

A notice to show that the borrower under a mortgage or deed of trust is in default (behind in payments).

Notice of Levy/Writ/Attachment & Executions

A document recorded to notify a party served with writ of execution that specific property is taken in satisfaction of a debt.

Notice of Lis Pendens/Notice of Pendency of Action

A recorded notice that litigation (a lawsuit) is pending in court which may affect the title of the real property involved.

Notice of Non-Responsibility

A document to evidence that the owner of the real property interest will not be responsible for payment of cost of improvements contracted for thereon by some other person.

Notices of Trustee’s Sale

A document recorded to notify the public of the foreclosure (sale) proceedings by the Trustee for non-payment or non-performance of the conditions of the deed of trust.

Order/Decree/Stipulation Order

Evidences a judicial determination affecting title to or the possession of real property.

Power of Attorney

A document recorded to delegate the authority of the principal to his attorney-in-fact (agent) authorizing another person, to act for him/her in his/her name in a designated capacity.

Quitclaim Deed

It is the form of deed that conveys or releases any interest that the grantor may have acquired in real property.

Rescission of Notice of Default

Declares that a Notice of Default recorded against a specific Deed of Trust is cancelled.

Reconveyance

Evidences a full or partial payment of a loan under a Deed of Trust.

Release of Mechanic’s Lien

A document recorded to remove the lien (mechanic’s lien) against real property.

Request for Notice of Default

Requests written notice of a Notice of Default under a Deed of Trust or of the scheduling of a trustee’s sale.

Satisfaction of Judgment

Acknowledges the satisfaction of a previously recorded judgment.

Satisfaction of Mortgage

Release of the loan that was a lien against real property.

Subordination Agreement

A document where the current lender agrees to make their encumbrance deed of trust subject to (junior) to another loan.

Substitution of Trustee

A document through which the lender (beneficiary), owner, or holder of the note (loan) replaces a new Trustee in the Deed of Trust.

Substitution of Trustee & Full Reconveyance

A combined document where the lender substitutes a new Trustee and the new trustee executes the Reconveyance or releases the loan that was a lien against real property.

Trustee’s Deed

Deed given by the trustees when the real property is sold under the power of sale in a deed of trust in a foreclosure proceeding.

Trustee’s Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure/Upon Sale

Document recorded to evidence the transfer of real property from the defaulting trustor (borrower) to the beneficiary (lender) in lieu of foreclosure.

UCC Statement

Evidences a security interest in personal property and/or crops, timbers, minerals or fixtures.

Voluntary Petition

A document recorded to evidence the filing of bankruptcy by a petitioner.