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Recording Format Requirements

On January 1, 2002, new standardized formatting requirements for documents to be recorded with any Missouri Recorder of Deeds will take effect. House Bill 606 and Senate Bill 515 repeals Sections 59.310 and 59.313 RSMo and enacts new Sections 59.005, 59.310 and 59.313, which allows recorders to reject non-conforming documents and provides for a penalty fee of $25 to record non-conforming documents. The following information is based on the text of the statute and the practical interpretation thereof by the Recorders Association of Missouri (RAM), Missouri Bar, Missouri Bankers Association and Missouri Land Title Association. Document formatting samples can be found here.

What Standardization Does:

  • Changes document formatting requirements for recording real estate documents
  • Does not change statutory requirements

For Standard Documents

Size and Ink

  • 812" x 11" size paper
  • White, light-colored, 20# paper without watermarks or logos
  • Printed in black or dark ink on only one side
  • No continuous forms or permanent binding, but document may be stapled for presentation
  • Minimum 8 point type. (Note: Nonessential information within any margins is exempt from this requirement.)
  • Signatures must be in black or dark ink to insure reproduction from record.
  • All signatures must have the name typed, stamped or printed underneath.


  • Attachments to a page may not be stapled or taped other than a securely attached bar-coded label or as required by law. (Note:"Attachment" does not refer to an Exhibit, but to additions to a document page.)
  • Top 3" vertical space of the first page only of each document is designated for the recorder=s certification. All recorder=s certificates will be placed in this area.
  • All other margins on first and subsequent pages will be a minimum of 3/4"
  • Nonessential information contained within the margins does not have to comply with the 8-point requirement. It should be noted that the recorder is not liable or responsible for insuring that nonessential information is archived. Examples: page numbers, form numbers, return addresses, etc.

First Page Designations

Every document (except plats and surveys) containing any of the following items shall have such information on the first page of the document below the 3" margin:

  1. Title of the document
  2. Date of the document
  3. All grantors' names
  4. All grantees' names
  5. Any statutory addresses
  6. Legal description of the property
  7. Applicable reference book and pages if required

If there is not sufficient room on the first page, the page reference within the document where the information is set out shall be stated on the first page. If one of the required fields begins on the first page and continues uninterrupted to subsequent pages, that meets the page requirement.

Designations (First Page)

  • Grantors and grantees must be designated in order to be indexed. There is no limit as to combinations or exclusions, but must include the words "grantor" or "grante". Note: It is the responsibility of the filer or preparer to make the designations.
  • Statutory addresses must be designated, i.e., "Grantee's Mailing Address".
  • The address of the property shall not be accepted as a legal description.
  • Book and page references required on certain documents, i.e.. release deeds, assignments, etc. must be designated.

Cover Pages

Recorder Cover Sheet

  • A cover page for the document is not required, but a filer may choose to present a cover page at any time. It will be recorded as the first page of the document. The cover page must have the 3" top margin and include first page designations.
  • If a document is presented for re-recording, in addition to all other requirements, there must be a new first page or cover sheet with the top 3" margin and the required first page designations.

Exempt Documents (exempt from formatting requirements)

  • Documents signed prior to January 1, 2002.
  • Military separation papers.
  • Documents executed outside the United States.
  • Certified copies of documents, including birth and death certificates.
  • Any document where one of the original parties is deceased or otherwise incapacitated.
  • Judgments or other documents formatted to meet court requirements.
  • Fixture Filings on National Approved forms.


  • Standard: Documents that meet both the statutory requirements and formatting standards will have only the per page recording fee schedule applied, i.e., $24 for first page and $3 each additional page.
  • Non-Standard: Documents that meet the statutory requirements, but do not meet the formatting standards will have the per page recording fee plus an additional $25.00 per document penalty applied.
  • Exempt: Documents that meet the statutory requirements, but are exempt from the formatting standards will have only the per page recording fee schedule applied.


All documents that are rejected must be returned with a reason for the rejection. The Recorders Association will develop a standard rejection form that can be used or adapted by any filing officer.