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Massachusetts Agencies

Recording: Different Name

Deeds and Conveyances

Where James N. Howes took title under that name but conveyed out as "James Howes," the conveyance was good not only as against his heirs but also, when duly recorded, as against his subsequent grantees, even if they had no actual notice of it. Gillespie v. Roger, 146 Mass. 610, 16 N.E. 711 (1888).

"It is obvious that under this rule one searching the records may fail to find all that is necessary for his protection; but, nevertheless, he will be bound . . . . In like manner, where deeds or other instruments required to be recorded are given by persons or corporations known by different names, the records may fail to furnish exact and literal information; and yet, where the instrument itself is a genuine one, and has been executed in good faith, the record has been held sufficient to furnish constructive notice of the real transaction." Allen, J., Id.

Getting the name right is important, however, when it comes to attachments. In Teschke v. Keller,38 Mass.App.Ct. 627 (1995), where title was vested in "Marita M. Keller," the court held that an attachment in the name of "Marita M. Keller-Teschke," a name the defendant went by when she was married and which was referenced in a mortgage she granted, was not good as against the property.

With respect to the attachment, the controlling statute, G. L. c. 223, §66, provides in pertinent part that:

[N]o attachment shall be valid against [purchasers in good faith and for value] as to any particular parcel of land ... in any case where the name of the owner thereof under which he acquired title thereto as appears on the public records is not included in the writ [of attachment] unless the writ is seasonably amended to include such name and then only from the time when a correspondingly amended copy is deposited [in the registry of deeds for the county or district where the land lies].

The judge construed this section strictly:

[T]he General Court intended that the writ must set forth the name of the owner of the land sought to be attached in the same manner as it appears in the deeds or probate documents by which the owner took title. In the present case the attachment should have been in the name of Marita Keller Teschke and Marita M. Keller. ... The attachment, however, was not in either of these names but was in the hyphenated version of the individual defendant's name, Keller-Teschke. This does not meet the statutory requirements as such an instrument would not be indexed under her correct name (if this is material) or her earlier unhyphenated name.