Land records are one of those documents that typically are recorded relatively soon after they are drawn up and signed. But some relatives may have a looser definition of relatively soon than others. Deeds are occasionally recorded decades after they were executed. This may be due to temporary illness, absentmindedness, distance from the courthouse, or other reasons.

The oversight is most likely to be noticed when the purchaser dies or wants to sell the property. The decades-earlier deed of acquisition may be recorded right before the deed of sale. Two reminders here are to look for a deed in record books long after you think the property transfer was a “done deal” and always look to see what’s recorded right before and after any document you have discovered.

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