1. What is the registry of deeds?
    A Registry of Deeds is the place where all transactions of a Real Property nature are recorded so that the public is made aware of their existence.  Deeds, mortgages, tax liens, water liens, declaration of homestead and many other kinds of documents regarding the title and ownership of real estate are noted permanently in official records.
     

  2. What cities and towns are included in the Hancock County Registry of Deeds?
    All cities and towns in the County of Hancock, in the State of Maine are contained in the Hancock County Registry of Deeds.
     

  3. What Unorganized Territories does the Hancock County Registry of Deeds cover?
    Fletchers Landing Township (formerly No. 8 Plantation), 7 SD, 9 SD, 10 SD,16 MD, 22 MD, 28 MD, 32 MD, 34 MD, 35 MD ,39 MD, 40 MD, 41 MD.
     

  4. Who runs the registry?
    The Registry of Deeds is a division of county government. A person called the Register of Deeds administers the Registry.  There are a number of clerks who handle various duties.
     

  5. Who is the register?
    The Register is an elected official whose term is for four (4) years and who makes certain that documents are recorded properly. She is responsible for maintaining all of the land records in an accurate and correct form. The present Register is Julie Curtis.
     

  6. Where is the registry of deeds?
    The Hancock County Registry of Deeds is located at 50 State Street, Ellsworth ME 04605. The Registry is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, Except on State and National holidays. Recording hours are from 8:30a.m. through 3:50 p.m. The telephone number for the Registry is (207) 667-8353.
     

  7. What is a deed?
    A deed is a written document by which the buyer obtains record title to real property. There are several types of deeds. The most common types in this area are Quitclaim or Warranty Deeds. In a Quitclaim Deed the owner states that he/she has not encumbered any debts or liens against the title but is unwilling to state that his/her predecessors did not do the same. In a warranty Deed the owner warrants that he/she has not encumbered any debts or liens against the title and guarantees that his/her predecessors did not encumber the title.
     

  8. What if I lose my deed?
    The primary evidence of ownership is the deed itself, but the recording of the deed at the Registry of Deeds is notice to the world as to ownership. Unrecorded deeds are legally binding on the persons who have knowledge of the deed but recorded deeds are absolute proof of ownership. Once recorded, the original deed is returned to the new owner who usually deposits it in a place of safekeeping with his or her important papers. However, if misplaced or lost, a copy may be obtained from the Registry of Deeds or on our website under the "Search Public Records" link on the top of the page. You may obtain a certified copy at the Registry of Deeds. The certified copy from the Registry has the same legal value as the original deed.
     

  9. Whom do I talk to in the Registry of Deeds about matters of this sort?
    The clerks at the Document Receiving Counter in the Registry of Deeds will help in answering any questions you may have. The clerks, however, are not attorneys and cannot give legal advice. They are willing, however, to give ministerial advice and assist you with your non-legal, registry related problems.
     

  10. May I make out my own deed?
    Yes you may, but deeds are legally binding documents that affect the rights of the parties to the deed and also their heirs, successors and assignees. Knowledge of legal principles is very important in the preparation of a deed. The Registry is a recording agency and therefore, cannot make out deeds or answer those questions that pertain to legal matters. We advise you to consult a lawyer.
     

  11. What happens to my deed when it arrives at the Registry?
    When any document is brought in to be recorded, there are a number of steps that are taken before it is returned to the concerned party. The information on the document is first abstracted into grantor and also grantee indices. The document is then scanned immediately. The images are then compared with the original document for accuracy. It is then made available on our public access system that can be accessed through our computers or on our website, www.hancockcountydeeds.com. The original document is returned to the party that presented the document for recording.
     

  12. What is the stamp attached to a deed?
    The State of Maine derives revenue from the sale of real estate through the sale of state tax stamps. The amount of the excise tax stamp differs from time to time depending on the action of the State General Court. In Hancock County, the seller, by custom, is obligated to pay for the amount of this stamp just as the buyer is accountable for paying the recording fee for the deed and/or mortgage. The money paid for the tax stamps is income to the Registry and is forwarded to the State of Maine Department of Revenue.
     

  13. What is a title search?
    The recording of a deed and other documents in the Registry does not guaranty that the real estate is free from all liens, encumbrances and other legal problems that would cloud the ownership of the property. A Title Search is a review of all records (Deeds, Probate Court, Bankruptcy, Tax Liens, etc.) and a written report of the Title Searcher’s opinion as to the state of the record title issued. Some people do not have a Title Search, but that is a very dangerous practice and no bank will ever advance money for the realty without a Title Search.
     

  14. How do I find the deed to my house?
    The Registry has a section referred to as the Grantor and Grantee Index. Grantor means the seller and Grantee refers to the buyer. In order to locate your deed you are, for purposes of finding this deed, the Grantee, since you are the one who bought the property last. Once you ascertain the year that your property was purchased, you may use either the public access computers or Grantee books to find the book and page of your deed. There are specific instructions in the Registry on how to locate your deed by computer or Grantee books. The deed can also be found by accessing our website, www.hancockcountydeeds.com.
     

  15. Can I locate the mortgage to my own house in the Registry?
    Yes, search the grantor index under your own name and the year you obtained your mortgage. The mortgage can also be found by accessing our website, www.hancockcountydeeds.com.
     

  16. What if I don’t recall when my house was purchased? How do I find the deed?
    If you can't remember the date the house was purchased you can contact the Assessor in the city or town where the property is situated. They will relay the year and then you can proceed to find the deed as previously indicated.
     

  17. How far back to the Registry records go?
    Registry records date back to 1790 and all the records are available for public inspection and use at the Registry. Some very old record books have been “retired” but those records are available on microfilm and online from 1731 to date. Click un-indexed property search for record books.
     

  18. How current are the records in the Registry of Deeds?
    All essential index information is entered into the Registry Data Base and is immediately available through the public access terminals and on our internet site at www.hancockcountydeeds.com.
     

  19. What other kinds of records would I find in the Registry?
    Besides deeds, mortgages, liens, tax liens, bankruptcies and so on, there are leases, plan maps, a small library and atlases of the Cities and Towns located in the Hancock County.

Hancock County Registry of Deeds
50 State Street, Suite 9, Ellsworth 04605
Mailing Address PO Box 1059 • (207) 667-8353

Office Hours:
Monday through Friday; 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Recording Hours 8:30 - 4:00

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