Using this as a guideline for policies and procedures for deed processing. We have compiled suggestions to assist the public and private sector in deed preparation and recording from our experiences in this office. Outlined are services our office provides and does not provide, and a listing of the most common errors on deeds that our office encounters on a day-to-day basis. Our goal is to help minimize errors on deeds, to maximize taxpayer dollars and save customers additional recording fees. Our office highly recommends anyone conveying property to seek assistance from their Legal Advisor and/or a Title Company.

A. Current procedures for recording deeds.

  1. If a deed is being recorded that does not divide the property, then “A” is marked on the Plat Act Affidavit and the deed can be recorded at the Recorder of Deeds office with no review from Maps & Plats.
  2. If the deed does divide the property, then “B” is marked on the Plat Act Affidavit and the appropriate exception is also marked, 1 through 10. The deed is then reviewed by Maps & Plats to ensure the legal description is correct and a new parcel identification number is assigned to the new division of land. You can mail or drop-off your completed deed to our office. If approved, we will stamp the deed with our initials and date. The deed will be available for pick-up or mailed back if a postage paid envelope is supplied to our office. If we cannot approve the deed, you will receive the deed back with a form identifying the general problem. There is no fee for this process.
  3. If the deed divides the property that has been previously combined for “Taxing Purposes,” then “C”  should be marked on the Plat Act Affidavit. The same review from Maps & Plats to check the legal description and assign a new parcel identification number is required. After approval, the deed is ready to record.
  4. Mineral/Coal/Gas Deeds – If you are recording one of these deeds, please provide the parcel number(s) on the deed. We will verify the parcel number(s) and stamp the deed prior to recordation. If the property has never had parcel numbers assigned to it, we will assign new parcel numbers at this time.
NOTE: ALL DEEDS received by our office will be treated as THE ORIGINAL. We will stamp and initial the legal description page. Ensure your deed format is constructed in a way that will use the original document we process. If you present an additional document to our office for approval, it will be treated as a new document and may take 24 to 48 hours to process. We recommend the use of an “Attachment” for the legal description.

***Requirements needed to process this request are as follows: Deed format with Grantor/Grantee, legal description, completed Plat Act Affidavit, survey and supporting documents if needed.

Note: Approval guarantees that all requirements conform to our office records and conforms to the Illinois State Plat Act. Other requirements may be required by zoning or your municipality.   

Note: Maps & Plats Staff cannot assist deed preparers in telling them which exception applies to their deed.  They must seek legal advice or go to a Title Company.

B. Recorded Deeds that have errors.

If a deed has been recorded that contains an error, our office will identify the general error and notify the deed preparer, Grantor and Grantee by email or letter. We will encourage all parties to correct the error and re- record the deed so it is of public record. A name change may not be processed until corrected. 

An Affidavit will be prepared stating the general discrepancy on the deed and recorded with the Recorder of Deeds office. This enables the public record to reflect that there was a conflict with the records in our office.

C. Additional services performed by our office. NOTE: We only accept Cash or Check for payment.
250 ft variance parcel listing for re-zoning hearings. We provide a search in our mapping software on the parcel(s) you provide to us for the current owners name and addresses within a specified distance. The fee for this service is $10 per search and $.25 per parcel printout showing the owners name and address. You can download a request form on webpage 250FT Variance.

Example: You are required by your Municipality to have our office provide you with a list of property owners within a 250 ft radius of your property.

D. Services NOT performed by our office. Contact your Legal Advisor and/or a Title Company or Surveyor.
  1. Title Searches.
  2. Prepare deeds of any kind.
  3. Deed pre-approvals or legal description verifications of any kind.
  4. Advise customers what Plat Act exemption applies to their division of land.
  5. Write legal descriptions.
  6. Tell you where your property or building lines are located.
  7. Locate or research easements of any kind.
E. Suggestions to ensure timely processing when submitting deed(s) to our office. (Property Divisions Only)
  1. Every deed should have a Grantor, Grantee, complete legal description and completed Plat Act affidavit.
  2. Attach survey if one is available and/or if required for recording.
  3. Legal description legible.
  4. Allow sufficient time for processing. 24 hrs. would be the minimum time needed.

F. Common errors found with deeds you want to avoid to save money from incurring additional recording fee(s).
  1. Property transferred into a Trust or Transfer on Death (TOD) using an outdated legal description. Have your legal description reviewed by a Title Company / Attorney or Surveyor prior to recording. 
  2. Forgetting to include full names of Grantor(s) / Grantee(s) or Trust: Sr., Jr. or Married name (F/K/A)
  3. Forgetting to list a deceased Grantor.
  4. If heir to property, forgetting to state this as Grantor.
           5. Missing or incorrect parts of the legal description.
a. Subdivision name.
b. Subdivision plat book and page it was recorded in.
c. Lot number.
d. Block number in the Subdivision.
e. Exceptions or additions to the legal description.
    • Using the legal description from your Property Tax Bill. This is not a complete legal description and  should not be used on a deed.
    • Using the Point of Beginning as a deed book and page or document number. Using a deed book and page or a document number as an exception.  
765 ILCS 5/35 (c) Requires legal descriptions on deeds to sufficiently describe property, “without reference  to matters outside the instant description.” In other words, every legal description on a deed must be described without having to get a copy of a previously recorded deed to obtain that legal. This problem is most prevalent when exceptions are used within the legal description. Each exception should be described in detail, not just a reference to the book and page or document number. Our office implemented this provision since August 1, 1999 as per our State’s Attorney’s Office.

NOTE: Madison County CCAO/Maps & Plats GIS Division is not liable, makes no warrants, express or implied, as to the accuracy of any deed approved by our office. Please seek legal advice when it comes to transferring real estate property.