FAQs About Recorded Documents


You may obtain a legal document online, or from a title company or attorney’s office.

This is a document recorded to show that a Deed of Trust (Mortgage) has been paid in full.

Complete either a Grant Deed or Quitclaim Deed with the proper names and legal description of the property.

If ownership was held as joint tenants, record the form Affidavit Death of Joint Tenant. If ownership was held in a trust, record the form Death of Trustee. If ownership was held as a Life Estate, record the form Death of Life Tenant. If a property was held as Community Property with Right of Survivorship, record the form Death of Community Property Owner. In each situation, also include the death certificate.

Grant Deeds are used to transfer title of real property. This is done at the time of purchase and can be later recorded to add or remove individual’s names after purchase. This is known as the “title” document. Deeds of Trusts are loan documents given at the time of purchase resulting in an obligation to pay the loan or foreclosure may result. The Deed of Trust is also recorded when refinancing.

You can obtain a certified copy of the recorded document for any legal purposes. (Original documents are generally unacceptable for any legal purpose.)

A document titled Reconveyance or Substitution of Trustee and Reconveyance is the document recorded when the property has been paid in full. A new deed will not be issued or recorded.

The Office of the Recorder-County Clerk does not create liens. Various taxing agencies prepare and record liens and releases with our department which is why our name appears on your credit report. You will need to view or obtain a copy of the lien to locate the agency placing the lien against you. You may then speak to the agency about the lien. It is important that you review our records for a recorded release of lien, as credit reporting agencies sometimes fail to include them on your credit report. If you locate a release, you may provide a certified copy to the credit bureau to have it reported as released.

The Office of the Recorder-County Clerk records are indexed by name. There can be multiple people with the same name in the county. Most liens have the last four digits of a social security number. You will need to prove to the party questioning the lien that it does not belong to you with a copy of the lien and proof that the last four digits of your social security number are different.

Searches may be completed online. Make sure the release that you find has the same grantor and grantee parties as shown on the original lien and that the release is recorded after the original lien

The body of the release will reference a document number for the original recorded document which is being released. This information can be used to cross check that the correct lien was released.

The document number shown with the corresponding number in our system will start with the year of recording followed by the last 6 digits of each individual document number. For example, documents recorded in the years 2000 forward will start with 2000-000001. From 1999 and back, the numbers will be in the following format: 99000001.

Different agencies including the credit agencies can refer to your document # as SQ number, docket #, instrument #, etc. For example, 1986000723 would become 86000723 and SQ86000723 would become 86000723. Any letters shown before the number will be dropped off and the missing digits of the year will be inserted.

Reconveyance shows a full or partial payment of your loan. If you re-finance your loan, a new loan is issued and the first one is paid off; therefore, a Reconveyance is received for the first loan.

The Reconveyance shows 3 parties: the borrower/trustor, the trustee and the beneficiary. The trustee and beneficiary may have changed if your bank sold your loan. The reconveyance is not a title document. The trustee and beneficiary shown are not owners of your property.

The San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office can assist you with any questions or concerns about your property and real estate fraud.

An Abstract of Judgment is recorded showing the debtor’s last known address. The debtor may or may not own any property in San Joaquin County. The Abstract of Judgment lien is recorded against the person.