•   Email
  •   Print
Massachusetts Agencies

Discharge: Improper Acknowledgment


Although G.L.c. 183, §29 provides that a "deed" may not be recorded unless properly acknowledged (and, therefore, its recordation is a nullity, Pidge v. Tyler, 4 Mass. 541 (1808)), it has been held that other instruments need not be acknowledged. See Stetson v. Gulliver 56 Mass (2 Cush.) 494 (1848). A discharge, of course, is merely a receipt—it is not a deed or conveyance of real estate (although it has the same effect as a deed of release.)[1] One might argue, therefore, that under Stetson a discharge would not have to be acknowledged. That argument would likely be sound, but for the fact that G.L.c. 183, §54 requires that either a deed or release of a mortgage or a written recognition of payment must be acknowledged.[2] (Also, remember that if the discharge is from a corporate or similar entity and is not accompanied by a vote the discharge needs to be acknowledged in order for G.L.c. 183, §54B to be applicable. That statute eliminates the need for a vote, provided the instrument is acknowledged.)

See the unpublished opinion of the Appeals Court in Coffey v. Federal Savings Bank.

1 Goff v. White, 37 Mass.App.Ct. 128, 636 N.E.2d 1369 (1994).

2 Moreover, the Appendix to G.L.c. 183 contains the statutory forms, which includes an acknowledgment. G.L.c. 183, §8 do, however, state that the statutory forms do not prevent the use of other forms and that the forms may be altered as circumstances require.