Record a document FAQ
Frequently asked questions
King County cannot give legal advice. You may want to contact an attorney or title company for this information.
When adding someone to a title, or changing names on a title, people will generally record a conveyance document/deed. You can get blank legal documents at a stationery or office supply store. It needs to be completed and notarized. The Recorder's Office cannot help with filling out your deed. In addition, you will need to complete a Real Estate Excise Tax Affidavit and depending on the type of transaction, you may also need an Excise Tax Supplemental Statement. Please carefully review the Supplemental Statement which determines whether or not your transaction is taxable.
Once completed, you would bring these forms in to be processed and recorded. Our fees, hours of operation, and location can be found on our website. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney. You can also contact a title insurance company for assistance.
Many office supply and stationery stores carry common forms, or you can also use an internet search and download forms. Be aware though that some forms may not meet Washington State standards for size, clarity, or other characteristics.
The Recorder's Office does not provide blank deed forms. You can obtain blank deed forms from office supply stores and websites. The turnaround time can vary depending on how the document is presented to us.
Washington State Department of Revenue allows certain exemption to deed transfers. For a list of exemptions, please review the Real Estate Excise Tax chapter of the Washington Administrative Code (WAC). You can also review our Real Estate Excise Tax page for more Information.
In certain cases we may be able to record your document for a $50 non-compliance fee, in addition to other recording costs. Fill out and sign a Washington State Recorder's cover sheet with your recording.
The Recorder's Office has a responsibility to record all documents presented for recording provided they meet formatting and legibility requirements and that critical indexing information is present. Various documents have different requirements for legal functioning. Some require notarization of signatures and some do not. The Recorder's Office cannot guide you in the legal requirements of your specific documents. It is recommended that you research and review your documents carefully before submitting them for recording. If you need assistance in preparing your documents, you should consult with an attorney.
By law, the Recorder's Office can only check to ensure that your document meets the state's formatting and legibility standards, and that critical indexing information required by statute is present on the first page. If the formatting is not correct, or if some of the indexing information cannot be found, you may be required to fill out a coversheet for your document. The Recorder's Office cannot verify the accuracy or effectiveness of the information within your documents, but recommends you review our formatting tips.
Careful review of the contents of legal documents is the responsibility of the submitter. The Recorder's Office is only responsible for ensuring that state mandated formatting and legibility requirements are met. Remember, once recorded to the public record, your document is permanent and cannot be removed or changed. We highly recommend that you consult an attorney when recording legal documents.
Once recorded, your document is part of the permanent public record and cannot be removed or changed. If you've made an error that needs to be corrected, you will need to re-record your document. You will need to present the original, or a certified copy of the original, with the correction made and a declaration on the first page stating the correction. For example, "Re-recorded to correct legal description." The document will be recorded, assigned a new recording number, and cross referenced to the original recording. A new recording fee is required when re-recording.
A Multiple Title Document is a single document that contains more than one transaction, where each transaction could stand on its own and require separate entries in our database. By state law, each transaction in a single document that meets this definition requires a separate recording fee.
For example, a Substitution of Trustee and Full Reconveyance document is a multiple title document. There are two transactions, and each could stand on its own as a separate document - the Subsitution of Trustee replaces the existing trustee and could be a document by itself, the Full Reconveyance releases a Deed of Trust and could be a document by itself. Therefore, this document would need one additional recording fee at the time of submission.
Another example could be a lien that is submitted against ten different parcel numbers. The Recorder's Office would need to determine if this is one transaction with all ten parcels included, or ten separate transactions involving each of the parcels separately.
You can help ease the confusion of Multiple Title Documents by being very clear about what the intent of your document is, and how many actions it contains.
The Recorder's Office follows a six step procedure in reviewing documents that could potentially have multiple transactions that require additional recording fees.
- Is the title of the document clearly more than one transaction?
- Is the document title already on our established list of multiple transaction documents?
- Can the elements of the title stand on their own as separate document types?
- Is the document parcel focused? Reference number focused? Neither? Both?
- Depending on the answer to #4, are there multiple parties, parcel numbers, or reference numbers present in the document?
- What is the document trying to accomplish?
The answers to these questions inform our employees of what the intent of the document is, and they must make the decision if additional recording fees are required. You can help make the recording process more timely and accurate by ensuring that your document has a clear and understandable title, and that you are clearly communicating the full intent of the document either through the title, or in an instructional sheet submitted with the document.