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Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the Registry of Deeds?
- It is a place where all transactions regarding Real Property are recorded. Deeds, mortgages, liens, bankruptcies, leases, plan maps and many other kinds of documents regarding the title and ownership of real estate are recorded as permanent official records. The registry also houses a small library and atlases of the cities and towns located within Hancock County. This information is all public record.
- What cities, towns and unorganized territories are in Hancock County?
- The city of Ellsworth; the towns of Amherst, Aurora, Bar Harbor, Blue Hill, Brooklin, Brooksville, Bucksport, Castine, Cranberry Isles, Dedham, Deer Isle, Eastbrook, Franklin, Frenchboro, Gouldsboro, Great Pond, Hancock, Lamoine, Mariaville, Mount Desert, Orland, Osborn, Otis, Penobscot, Sedgwick, Sorrento, Southwest Harbor, Stonington, Sullivan, Surry, Swan’s Island, Tremont, Trenton, Verona Island, Waltham and Winter Harbor; and the townships of Fletchers Landing, Myra, 3 ND, 7 SD, 9 SD, 10 SD, 16 MD, 22 MD, 28 MD, 34 MD, 35 MD, 39 MD, 40 MD and 41 MD.
- Who runs the Registry of Deeds?
- We are a division of the Hancock County government consisting of the Register of Deeds, a Deputy Register and 3 clerks. The Register is an elected official whose term is 4 years. The current Register is Julie Curtis. She is responsible for maintaining all land records accurately and makes certain that documents are recorded properly.
- What is a deed?
- A deed is a document by which the buyer obtains record title to real property. There are several types of deeds. Our most commonly recorded deeds are Quitclaim Deeds and Warranty Deeds.
Quitclaim Deed: Warrants the owner has not encumbered any debts or liens against the title but is unwilling to state their predecessors did not do the same.
Warranty Deed: Warrants the owner has not encumbered any debts or liens against the title and guarantees their predecessors did not encumber the title.
- What happens if I lose my deed?
- If misplaced or lost, a copy may be obtained from the Registry of Deeds or from our website. You may only obtain a certified copy at the Registry of Deeds; this certified copy has the same legal value as the original deed.
- Whom do I talk with at the Registry of Deeds?
- The employees at the Registry of Deeds will assist in answering any registry or nonlegal questions you may have. They are not attorneys and are not permitted to give any legal advice.
- May I prepare my own deed?
- Yes. However; deeds are legally binding documents affecting 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 prepare deeds or other documents or answer questions pertaining to legal matters. We strongly advise you to consult a lawyer.
- What happens to my deed once received at the Registry?
- There are a number of steps taken when a document is presented for recording. The document is scanned and the images are compared with the original document for accuracy. The information on the document is indexed by the Grantors and Grantees. Once verified, it is available online and can be accessed via our website or here in the Registry. The original document is then returned.
- What is Maine Transfer Tax?
- Transfer tax is collected on the following two transactions at the rate of $4.40 for each $1,000.
Real Estate: The real estate transfer tax is imposed on each deed by which any real property in this state is transferred. The Registry of Deeds will compute the tax based on the value of the property as set forth in the declaration of value.
Controlling Interest: A separate Return/Declaration must be filed for each transfer of a controlling interest in the county where real property is located.
- What is a title search?
- The recording of a deed and other documents in the Registry does not guarantee 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 documented records and a written report of the Title Searchers opinion as to the state of the record title issued. Some people do not have a title search. No bank will advance money for the realty without a title search.
- How do I search for my deed, mortgage or other documents?
- Documents can be found by searching our website under your name or the book and page number of the document. There are public computers available at the Registry for your use. The Registry also has a section of books referred to as the Grantor and Grantee Indexes. If you know the year your property was purchased, you may search the Grantee/Grantor books to find the book and page number of your document.
*If you can't remember the date of purchase, you can contact the Assessor from where the property is located; then you can proceed to find the deed as previously indicated.
- How far back to the Registry records go? How current are the records?
- Registry records date back to 1790 and are available to the public at the Registry. Certain old record books have been ‘retired’ but are available on microfilm and online from 1731 on. The last paper book was printed 12/30/2005 (Bk 4388); all records after this are only available online. All essential index information is entered into the database and is immediately available on our website.
50 State Street Suite 9
Ellsworth ME 04605
PO BOX 1059
Ellsworth ME 04605
Monday through Friday 7:30am - 4:00pm
8:30am - 3:50pm
Copyright © 2018 Hancock County Registry of Deeds