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Computer technology has made researching on the Internet easy and instantaneous, with almost immediate access to anything and everything imaginable. In this age of “how-to” and “do-it-yourself” books, guides, and talk-shows, it may seem easier and cheaper to handle matters personally rather than seek professional advice and assistance. Accordingly, our office is experiencing an increasing number of “form” documents which individuals have acquired over the internet from various websites. The forms may be sold by persons with little or no expertise in such matters, and then used by well-meaning individuals who assume that the forms are recordable and correctly suit their purposes.
South Dakota law has specific rules about what documents can be recorded, and how recorded documents need to be formatted. These “do-it-yourself” forms may be unrecordable in our state because they do not comply with these laws. Unfortunately, someone may pay “a small fee” for these forms, only to be told at the recorder’s office that the documents must be rejected because of noncompliance. In the event that some of the documents meet recording requirements, there is also the risk that these “boilerplate” forms do not address the specific situation(s) or intent of the user, and that the recording of such documents may not only be worthless, but could, in fact, have harmful consequences for individuals, both personally and/or financially.
If you are not certain that the documents you wish to record are correct and accurately reflect your intentions, please consider seeking professional advice in matters that are important to you