Register of Deeds is a Constitutional office established by the State Legislature as the custodian of legal documents pertaining to real property. These documents include Warranty Deeds, Deeds of Trust, Releases, Powers of Attorney, Liens and other miscellaneous documents designated by state law to be recorded by the Register of Deeds. The Register is elected by the people and serves a four year term.In 2000, the Register’s office implemented a new computer imaging system for recording, indexing, storage, and retrieval of all documents. With the new system, the office has the capability of putting every recorded page on an imaging system. On this system, an image of any recorded page may be called up and viewed on a screen within a matter of a few seconds. A paper copy of the instrument can be generated if necessary with the press of a button. The Lewis County Register of Deeds Office maintains an index of land transactions in Lewis County dating back to 1800.
The primary function of the register is to make and preserve a record of instruments required or allowed by law to be filed and recorded, including but not limited to deeds, powers of attorney, mortgages, liens, contracts, plats, leases, judgments, wills, court orders, military discharges, fixture filings and other types of instruments. The records provide public notice of property ownership, liens, contracts and other transactions that affect the public interest. The register’s office is in the county seat, and the records and papers must remain in the office at all times.
The register is also responsible for collecting “transfer” and “mortgage” taxes, and with some statutory exceptions, the register must collect a tax on the transfer of all interests in real estate, and the “mortgage” tax on recording instruments which evidence an indebtedness.
Major responsibilities of the office:
Permanently recording all deeds, powers of attorney, mortgages, liens, contracts, plats, leases, judgments, wills, court orders, military discharges, and fixture filings.
Responsible for collection of Transfer and Mortgage Taxes, which are paid to the State monthly.