Recording Documents


Documents (often referred to as instruments) brought to the Register of Deeds office are recorded, which is the official method for documenting the time and date a legal instrument is placed into public record. This is necessary because not only does this office record all instruments transferring title to a property (deeds), but everything else that affects that property such as mortgages and easements.

Instruments affecting property must be recorded with date, hour, and minute it is received in the office so as to give notice to the public that another party has an interest in that property. This vital function helps maintain an orderly transfer of title to property. In addition to recording deeds, there are also recorded plats, mortgages, leases, etc. which provides a record when doing a thorough title search. Without this local central office to record and maintain these records, society as well as real estate professionals would face an unreliable system for buying and selling property.

In this function the Register of Deeds office is essential to bankers, abstract/title companies, real estate agents, land developers and the public in providing an orderly method for documenting changes in real property.

Requirements for Recording

Requirements for recording real estate documents are set by the state legislature. Each Register of Deeds and their deputies have taken oaths to uphold the laws set forth by the State of South Dakota and the United States. For this reason any instrument received by the Register of Deeds office for recording may be returned without being recorded if that instrument does not conform to the laws.

The Register of Deeds strongly urges you to seek a legal professional to assist you in the drawing of an instrument. Remember, these instruments affect title to property and it would be wise to have the instrument drawn correctly, rather than to create a cloud on the title that may take litigation to correct.


The Register of Deeds office will assist you with any questions you have regarding your real property, however they are not able to give you legal opinions and may direct you to contact an attorney or other real estate professional