DATE: November 29, 2000

SUBJECT: Fictitious Deeds of Trust Amended Law


Assembly Bill 2935 (Ch. 924) deletes the paragraph in Civil Code Section 2952 that permits the instruction to not record the back page of a short form deed of trust containing boilerplate language. The remainder of C.C. 2952 remains intact.

Consequently, effective January 1, 2001, County Recorders must record all pages of a deed of trust, including any page of a short form deed of trust containing an instruction not to record it. It remains to be seen how Recorders will deal with the fact that the boilerplate language on the back page often is in such fine print that it may not copy adequately into the record. However, since recording the boilerplate provisions is not necessary for constructive notice (due to the reference to the fictitious deed of trust on the front page), and since the only purpose of the statute is to collect money, it seems likely that Recorders will strive to simply record the entire document regardless of how well the redundant boilerplate provisions can be copied.

Ill spend a moment discussing fictitious deeds of trust, for anyone reading this who may not be familiar with them. Civil Code Section 2952 provides for incorporating by reference the provisions of a previously recorded "fictitious deed of trust". The fictitious deed of trust is a recorded document containing all the necessary boilerplate language. A reference to the recording information of the fictitious deed of trust is contained on the front page of the short form deed of trust. The boilerplate language is reprinted on the back page. Since the front page of the document refers to the recording information of the fictitious deed of trust, it is not necessary to record the back page. The back page also contains an instruction not to record that page, and the statute specifically authorizes such an instruction.

The purposes of a short form deed of trust are to minimize recording fees and to simplify the document. The State Legislature apparently has no problem with the basic concept of the statute, but does not like people minimizing recording fees.