Complaints Subsequent to Registration (“S-Cases”) must be commenced in accordance with the Massachusetts Rules of Civil Procedure, as well as G.L. c. 185, the Land Court Registered Land Guidelines, and all updates thereto by Memoranda of the Chief Title Examiner.
The procedures outlined below specify the requirements for the initiation and expeditious processing of S-Cases filed at the Land Court, which should be reviewed and adhered to for all filed S-Cases.
NOTE: SJC Rule 1:24
All public filings with the Land Court must comply with Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) Rule 1:24: Protection of personal identifying information in publicly accessible court documents.1 It is the responsibility of the filer to redact “personal identifying information” such as a social security number, taxpayer identification number, driver’s license number, state-issued identification card number, or passport number, a parent's birth surname if identified as such, a financial account number, or a credit or debit card number. Noncompliance may result in corrective action in accordance with Section 8 of Rule 1:24.
A. File the S-Case complaint with the Land Court and pay the entry fee.
File the S-Case with the Land Court in accordance with Mass. R. Civ. P. Rule 3, by either (1) mailing by certified or registered mail, or (2) filing at the counter in person, an original signed complaint and the required entry fee at the address below:
Land Court Recorder’s Office
Three Pemberton Square, Fifth Floor
Boston, MA 02108
At this time, electronic filing (eFiling) is not available for S-Cases.
The required entry fee must be paid at the time of filing. The entry fee as of the date of this Memorandum is $50.00 and may be paid by check (mail or in person) or credit card (in person at the Recorder’s Office cash booth). The complaint will be date stamped and docketed by the Recorder’s Office upon receipt and acceptance of the entry fee.
B. Include all required documentation with the complaint.
The filer must submit all required documentation to the Land Court upon filing the S-Case complaint. Failure to submit all required documentation with the complaint could result in extensive delays in the processing of the case or, in some cases, the rejection or dismissal of the case.
1. Subsequent to Registration Complaint Cover Sheet
All S-Cases require the filer to submit the Subsequent to Registration Complaint Cover Sheet, available on the Land Court’s website.2
2. Certified copy of current Certificate of Title or Memorandum of Unit Ownership
All S-Cases require the filer to submit a certified copy of the current certificate of title or memorandum of unit ownership.
If the current certificate of title or memorandum of unit ownership is not yet prepared, provide a certified copy of the last issued and prepared certificate of title or memorandum of unit ownership as well as all intervening deeds from the last prepared, up to and including the current deed. A printout of the encumbrances is also required if the certificate of title or memorandum of unit ownership is not yet prepared.
3. Registered documents and recorded instruments
Submit copies of the previously registered documents or recorded instruments pertinent to your S-Case. Certified copies of documents or instruments already registered or recorded with the Registry District are not required.
4. Attested copies of probate and other court documents
If the S-Case involves a probate proceeding, or any document from another court (including the Probate and Family Court), the submitter must submit attested or certified copies of such documents (e.g., Decree of Sale, Bankruptcy Order).
NOTE: Complaint for certificate after death and Land Court Standing Order 1-21 (dismissal for premature filings)
For an S-Case requesting the issuance of a new certificate after the death of a registered owner, refer to the Land Court Chief Title Examiner Memorandum Re: Land Court Guideline 14. Death: The Effect of Death upon Registered Land Titles (issued October 31, 2019)3 and use the Land Court’s form Complaint for Certificate after Death.4 Attested or certified copies of probate documents are required.
Complaints for certificate after death are subject to Land Court Standing Order 1-21: Dismissal without prejudice of prematurely filed complaints for certificate after death.5 Accordingly, such a complaint shall not be filed with the Land Court unless the entry of judgment in an appropriate probate proceeding has become final, without appeal or after a resolved appeal. An informal probate proceeding, or a formal probate decree that that does not result in a determination of heirs and testacy, does not qualify as an appropriate probate proceeding. Such S-Cases will be dismissed by the court without prejudice and may be refiled upon compliance with G.L. c. 185, § 97, and all applicable Land Court Registered Land Guidelines and Chief Title Examiner Memoranda.
5. Additional required documentation
Additional required documentation varies from case to case. Review all relevant Registered Land Guidelines of the Land Court,6 as well as all updates to such Guidelines set forth in the Registered Land Memoranda from the Chief Title Examiner,7 related to the subject of your S-Case to determine the documentation required.
NOTE: Voluntary Withdrawals
If the S-Case is requesting the voluntary withdrawal of the property from the land registration system pursuant to c. 185, § 52, refer to the Checklist for Voluntary Withdrawal from the Registration System (issued May, 2019)8 and use both the court’s forms for the Complaint for Voluntary Withdrawal of Land (“Complaint”)9 and Notice of Voluntary Withdrawal of Land (“Notice”).10
Original documents that do not need to be registered should be submitted with the complaint. With the exception of the Notice in voluntary withdrawal cases, if the original document will need to be registered, retain the originals in your files and include copies of those documents with the complaint.
C. Provide an electronic copy of the complaint and all required documentation.
Either concurrently with the filing of the case, or shortly thereafter, submit by email an electronic copy of the complaint, the Subsequent to Registration Complaint Cover Sheet, and all required documentation that constitutes the S-Case to the Land Court Title Examination Department. The electronic copy must be submitted as a scanned document attachment in the Portable Document Format (“PDF,” “.pdf”) to this email: LandCourt.Title@jud.state.ma.us
The subject line of the email should reference the assigned case number, which contains the Land Court plan number.11
NOTE: Plan number
If the certificate of title or memorandum of unit ownership does not contain a plan number reference, contact the Land Registration District for the plan number, and submit a copy of the Land Court plan with the S-Case.
The attachment file size limit by email is approximately 19 megabytes (MB). Sending an email with one single attached document containing the entire case initiation file within the file size limit of 19 MB is preferred. However, if the file size of the attachment is larger than 19 MB, then the attachment may be split into more than one document across multiple emails, with appropriate notation in the subject line of the email (e.g. “Email 1 of 3”).
D. Use masscourts.org to check the status of your S-Case.
Once received and processed by the Land Court Title Department, the electronic copy of the case initiation documents will be uploaded to the court’s case management system. The uploaded image will be available for viewing and download from the Massachusetts Trial Court Electronic Case Access portal, available to the public and attorneys at masscourts.org.12
Additional court docket entries and case activities will be noted on the docket as the S-Case proceeds and may be reviewed on masscourts.org at any time. Once the case is assigned to a Land Court Title Examiner, that assignment will appear on the docket. Case inquiries should be directed to the assigned Land Court Title Examiner.
E. Register the Order of Court or Endorsement.
Once the S-Case has been processed and finalized, the Order of Court or endorsement will bear the signature of the Land Court Title Examiner and/or Justice of the Land Court, as applicable.
1. Order of Court
In the case of an Order of Court, the court will either (1) mail the Order to the submitter, or (2) email the Order to the submitter and the applicable Land Registration District personnel from the LandCourt.Title@jud.state.ma.us email address. The Order of Court will be imaged under the S-Case docket number and available for view or download on masscourts.org.
Whether mailed or emailed, the submitter must then present the Order of Court for registration to the appropriate Land Registration District, together with any documents to be registered therewith, and pay the required fees. The personnel of the Land Registration District will compare and match the Order of Court submitted for registration by the filer either (1) to the Order of Court previously emailed from the LandCourt.Title@jud.state.ma.us email address, or (2) to the same image available on masscourts.org for verification prior to accepting the Order of Court for registration.
NOTE: Prompt registration required
An Order of Court must be registered by the filer promptly upon its issuance, as the order will affect title to registered land only upon the act of registration, pursuant to G.L. c. 185, § 57. Failure to promptly register an Order of Court may result in delays in the registration of title documents affecting the property and may necessitate further court proceedings.
2. Endorsement on a Notice of Voluntary Withdrawal
In the case of an Endorsement on the Notice of Voluntary Withdrawal from the Land Registration System, the court has two options available for endorsement. A Justice of the Land Court may either (1) sign (endorse) the Notice, or (2) attach a signed endorsement to the Notice.
After employing either method of endorsement, the court will either (1) mail the endorsed original Notice (or Notice and attached endorsement) along with an Exhibit A to the submitter, or (2) email the endorsed Notice (or attached endorsement) along with an Exhibit A to the submitter and the applicable Land Registration District personnel from the LandCourt.Title@jud.state.ma.us email address.13
Whether mailed or emailed, the submitter must then present the endorsed original Notice (or Notice and attached endorsement) along with its Exhibit A for registration to the appropriate Land Registration District and pay the required fees. The first page should either be the directly endorsed original Notice or the endorsed attachment to the Notice.
The personnel of the Land Registration District will compare and match the endorsed original Notice (or Notice and attached endorsement) and Exhibit A submitted for registration by the filer either (1) to the document previously emailed from the LandCourt.Title@jud.state.ma.us email address, or (2) to the same document image available on masscourts.org for verification prior to accepting the endorsed Notice (or Notice and attached endorsement) and Exhibit A for registration.
NOTE: Recording the Notice on the recorded side of the registry
The submitter must follow up with the Land Registration District personnel regarding their procedure for recording the Notice of Voluntary Withdrawal on the recorded land side of the Registry.