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Definitions of Commonly Recorded Documents

For Your Information 2

Important Notice

Important Information 75x40This summary has been provided for your convenience.  However, the Clerk-Recorder’s Office cannot give legal advice and, therefore, suggest that you contact your own legal advisor to assist you, if you wish to use any particular document. 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.

Abstract of Judgment
A court issued summary of a money judgment to secure payment 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 specifically described or referred 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 of Trust Deed
A new borrower under the terms of the original Deed of Trust assumes remaining loan amount on a Deed of 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 Severance of Joint Tenancy
To evidence that a joint tenancy ownership has been severed by one of the joint tenants without the consent of the other joint tenant.
Decree of Distribution
Court order assigning title of property of a deceased person to the heirs.
Deed of Trust / Mortgage
An instrument that secures a debt, the repayment of the loan/mortgage encumbered by real property. This is a three party document: the borrower (trustor), the beneficiary (lender), and the trustee who holds title to real property under the terms of a deed of trust.
An interest in land owned by another party that entitles the holder to a specific, limited use. Note: Could be recorded as a deed or easement document.
Grant Deed
It is the form of deed, common in California, which contains implied warranties to the effect that the granter has not previously conveyed or encumbered the real property.
Homestead Declaration
A declaration by a property owner that a homestead exemption is being claimed which may protect a portion of the equity in their home from forced sale.
To evidence the conveyance of real property for a term of years and a contract of its possession during that term.
Mechanic’s Lien
A document recorded to create a lien in favor of persons contributing labor, material, supplies, etc., to a work of improvement upon real property.
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 Attachments & 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 estate, involved.
Notice of Non-Responsibility
A document to evidence that the owner of real property interest will not be responsible for payment of cost of improvements contracted for thereon by some other person.
Notice of Trustees 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.
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
The form of deed that conveys or releases any interest that the grantor may have acquired in real property.
Rescission of Notice of Default
To declare that a notice of default recorded against a specific deed of trust is cancelled.
To evidence 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
A document whereby the junior lenders require the senior lender to notify them when the borrower defaults on their loan.
Revocable Transfer on Death Deed
Transfers real property to a designated beneficiary upon the death of the owner, without a probate proceeding
Satisfaction of Mortgage
Release of the loan that was a lien against real property.
Subordination Agreement
A document where the current lender agrees to makes their encumbrance deed of trust, subject-to or 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.
Tax Lien
Places a lien against a person and may attach to any and all property owned by that person.
Trustee's Deed
To transfer real property as the result of a duly conducted foreclosure proceeding and subsequent sale.
Trustee 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 Continuation
Continuation of a UCC loan
UCC Filing
Loan secured by personal property / growing crops / standing timber / business fixtures.
UCC Partial Release or Termination
A partial release or termination of a UCC loan
Voluntary Petition in Bankruptcy
A document recorded to evidence the filing of bankruptcy by a petitioner.