Examiner of Titles

Owners of real estate and their agents interact with this office.

Minnesota has two land record systems – abstract and torrens. Owners may convert property from abstract to torrens through land registration. A torrens “certificate of title” is conclusive proof of ownership, with some exceptions.

The examiner of titles:

  • oversees land registration
  • provides instructions and forms for the public
  • issues directives and approves documents for filing
  • oversees court proceedings post-registration (proceeding subsequent)
  • provides legal advice to the recording office
  • holds court hearings

No fees are charged for examiner services. Fees to file a court action or record documents apply.

For the separate process of recording documents, visit real estate recording information. Once land is registered, it is important to record documents on the certificate of title, not in the abstract records. To get a certificate of title number or find out if land is torrens, contact the registrar at 612-348-5139.

If you've submitted documents for examiner's approval, you can check the status of your documents.

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Approval of deeds, divorce decrees and other documents

The documents listed under Instructions require examiner's approval before filing with the registrar of titles. There is no fee for examiner’s approval. Submit documents to the examiner of titles in person or by mail. Once the documents are received by our office, they are typically available for pickup in the examiner's office the next business day after 10 a.m. Documents can be returned to you by mail if you provide a self-addressed stamped envelope.

Check the status of your documents

Uniform conveyancing blanks (PDF)

Instructions, checklists and avoiding common errors

General tips

  • All documents submitted must be originals or certified copies.
  • Certified copies should not be taken apart.
  • All documents must be complete and ready to be filed (signed, dated and notarized).
  • Proof-read all documents and check that the acknowledgement/verification is complete and in the correct form.

Attorney-in-fact for individual deed (power of attorney) (DOCX)
Approval is only required if an individual granted the power of attorney. Approval is not required for corporate (bank) attorney-in-fact deeds.

To avoid common errors, before you submit your attorney-in-fact deed, power of attorney and affidavit of attorney-in-fact, check to make sure:

Claim of unregistered interest (DOCX)
Per Minnesota Statute 508.70, see UCB Form 40.7.1

Divorce decree (DOCX)
A decree of dissolution or summary real estate disposition judgment must be approved to transfer title if there is no deed from the divested owner.

Probate transfer (DOCX)
Includes deed of sale, deed of distribution, decree of distribution, decree of descent, summary assignment.

Before you submit your deed from a personal representative and probate documents, check to make sure:

  • The deed is dated and acknowledged the same day or before the certification date of the letters.
  • The deed is dated and acknowledged at least 30 days after the issuance of the "letters" in an informal probate.
  • The required Notice to Commissioner of Human Services (UCB Form 70.3.1) and Affidavit (UCB Form 70.3.4)(Minnesota Statute 524.3-801) accompany your Deed of Distribution/Decree of Distribution.
  • If 70 days have not passed from the day notice was served on the commissioner, you are also submitting a consent to early distribution (UCB Form 70.3.7).

Trustee's deed / plat signed by trustee (PDF)
Only individual and testamentary trust deeds need examiner’s approval. Approval is not required for corporate (bank) trust deeds.

Before you submit your trustee's deed, certificate of trust and affidavit of trustee, check to make sure:

  • The affidavit is signed and verified the same day or after the deed is dated and executed, whichever is later. Example: deed is dated January 1; deed is acknowledged January 4; the affidavit must be signed January 4 or later.
  • The affidavit has the correct date (and recording information if already recorded) of the certificate of trust.
  • Paragraph 3 of the affidavit is filled in with information about the trustee's deed you want to file. The 3 blanks are for the grantor, grantee, and date of the trustee's deed.
  • You are using the current statutory forms for the certificate of trust, see UCB Form 90.1.1 if the trustee is an individual, or UCB Form 90.1.2 if the trustee is a business entity (Minnesota Statute 501C.1013).
  • You are using the current statutory form for the affidavit of trustee, see UCB Form 90.1.3 for an inter vivos trust, or UCB Form 90.1.4 for a testamentary trust (Minnesota Statute 501C.1015).

Request an examiner's directive

Examiner’s directive and removing documents from certificate of title

Your certificate of title may show liens or interests that are no longer valid. To learn if those interests will be dropped by the registrar or will require an examiner’s directive, check this alphabetical list of document types.

Document types and applicable authority (deletion table) (PDF)

Request an exchange certificate

Request an exchange certificate by contacting the registrar of titles at 612-348-5139. (Minnesota Statute 508.421)

Request an examiner’s directive

To request removal of an expired mortgage or other document, send an email to ex.titles@hennepin.us including:

  1. Certificate of title number
  2. Document number you want removed (don't include copies of documents)
  3. Minnesota statute, title standard, or other reason you believe it should be removed. See deletion table (PDF).

There is no fee for issuing an examiner’s directive, but recording fees may apply.

Other directive types:

Correct name on certificate--person (RTF)
Requesting correction to individual’s name or marital status on certificate of title (Minnesota Statute 508.71, Subdivision 3)

Correct name on certificate--entity (RTF)
Requesting correction to entity name or state of organization on certificate of title (Minnesota Statute 508.71, Subdivision 3)

Condominium declaration or amended/supplemental declaration (DOCX)
Requesting examiner approval to record declaration (Minnesota Statute 508.351)

Eminent domain transfer (DOCX)
Requesting new certificate of title pursuant to a final certificate or quick take order (Minnesota Statute 508.73, Subdivision 1)

Street/alley vacation (DOCX)
Requesting a change to legal description on a certificate of title to include vacated street/alley (Minnesota Statute 508.73, Subdivision 2)

Tax forfeiture (PDF)
Requesting new certificate of title when auditor's certificate has been of record 10 years of more (Minnesota Statute 508.67, Subdivision 2)

Registering land

Registration transfers the land from the recording act system (abstract title) to the registration system (torrens title.) Torrens title provides certainty of ownership and protection against loss of property by adverse possession. With registered land, a certificate of title is maintained by the county, showing the current owners and interests in the land.

Land in Hennepin County can become registered by court order (initial registration) or by examiner’s directive (certificate of possessory title “CPT”). In either process the owner submits an application setting out all interests in the land, and provides evidence of the chain of title (usually an abstract). The examiner of titles investigates and issues a report.

Defendants are served and a court hearing is held in an initial registration. The registration resolves title defects and bars all interests not shown on the resulting certificate of title, with limited exceptions.

In the CPT process, there is no service or hearing. The examiner must find that the applicant is the record fee owner and in possession of the land, and that based on the record, the title is uncontested. The examiner directs issuance of a certificate of possessory title. To protect due process rights, the certificate of possessory title can be challenged in court for a five year period. After five years, the CPT is cancelled and a certificate of title is issued.

Initial registration forms and instructions

Initial registration under Minnesota Statutes Chapter 508 is suitable for any property and includes the option of having judicial landmarks placed to determine the location of boundary lines. To register a boundary, a survey is required.

Hearings for initial registrations are held Thursdays at 10 a.m. in the hearing room of the examiner’s office, A-702 Government Center. If you would like to observe a hearing, contact the examiner’s office for dates hearings will occur.

Instructions for initial registration proceedings (PDF)

  • A detailed start-to-finish guide

Survey requirements for boundary registration (PDF)

Instructions: next steps after an interlocutory order is signed (PDF)

Instructions for contested registrations (PDF)

  • If someone files an answer claiming an adverse interest, the case is "contested."

Court rules for torrens proceedings (PDF)

Standing order referring registration hearings to examiner (PDF)

Forms for initial registration

Certificate of Possessory Title (CPT)

A CPT registration under Minnesota Statutes Chapter 508A is appropriate for uncontested titles where the applicant is the record owner. Boundary registration is not an option. After a CPT is issued, boundaries may be registered in a proceeding subsequent.

Registering possessory title (PDF)

  • A detailed start-to-finish guide

Forms for Certificate of Possessory Title

Proceedings subsequent to initial registration

Any court action under Minnesota Statutes Chapter 508 or 508A, brought after the initial registration, is called a proceeding subsequent. Proceedings subsequent are commenced by filing a petition. Petitions should be efiled through the eFile and eServe system, Hennepin Examiner of Titles node.

Hearings for proceedings subsequent are held Thursdays at 11 a.m. in the hearing room of the examiner’s office, A-702.

Instructions

Court rules

Court rules for torrens proceedings (PDF)

Forms

Standing orders

Reducing redemption period cases

A request to reduce the redemption period to five weeks for certain abandoned properties after foreclosure or tax sale is heard by the examiner of titles pursuant to order of reference.

Hearings for five-week cases are held Thursdays at 11 a.m. in the hearing room of the examiner’s office, A-702.

Instructions to reduce redemption period after mortgage foreclosure (DOC) (Minnesota Statute 582.032)

Instructions to reduce redemption period after tax forfeiture (PDF) (Minnesota Statute 281.173) (Minnesota Statute 281.174)

Complaint for five week case (RTF)

Order for five week case (RTF)

Order of reference - standing order - mortgage foreclosure (PDF)

Order of reference - standing order - tax forfeiture (PDF)

Learn more about torrens

Land in Minnesota may be registered (Minnesota Statutes Chapter 508 or 508A). Before land is registered, it’s known as abstract. Once registered, it's known as torrens. Registered land comes with a certificate of title, which includes the owner’s name and address, legal description of the land, and description of all encumbrances, liens, and interests the owner’s estate is subject to. About half the land in Hennepin County is registered.

The registration process is done through the examiner of titles office. Hennepin County has an examiner of titles and four deputy examiners of titles. They are attorneys appointed by the judges of the district court. The examiner of titles is the legal adviser to the registrar of titles. Examiners act as fact finders for the district court, and recommend orders to be entered by the court.

Examiner newsletters

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