Document Formatting Standards

  1. Home
  2. /
  3. Offices
  4. /
  5. Recorder of Deeds
  6. /
  7. Document Formatting Standards

Please send a self addressed, stamped envelope with mailed in recordings. 

Document Formatting Standards (effective January 1, 2002)

Recorders Association of Missouri

On January 1, 2002, new standardized formatting requirements for documents to be recorded with any Missouri Recorder of Deeds took effect. House Bill 606 and Senate Bill 515 repealed Sections 59.310 and 59.313 RSMo and enacted new Sections 59.005, 59.310 and 59.313, which allows recorders to reject non-conforming documents and provides for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.

Standard Documents

  • 8 ½” x 11” paper
  • White, light-colored, 20# paper without watermarks or logos
  • Printed in black or dark ink on one side only
  • No continuous forms or permanent binding, but documents may be stapled for presentation
  • Minimum 8-point type. (Note: Nonessential information within any margin 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 than as requested by law. (Note: ‘Attachment’ does not refer to an Exhibit, but 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 the first and subsequent pages will be a minimum of ¾”
  • Nonessential information contained with the margins does not have to comply with the 8-point requirement, but 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:

  • Title of the document
  • Date of the document
  • All grantors’ names & marital status
  • All grantees’ names
  • Any statutory addresses
  • Legal description
  • 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, which meets the first page requirement.


  • 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 ‘grantee’
  • Note: It is the filer’s or preparer’s responsibility to make the designations.
  • Statutory addresses must be designated
  • 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

  • A cover page for the document is not required, but a filer may choose to present a cover page and it will be recorded as the first page of the document. The cover page must have the top 3” 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” and the required first page designations.

Exempt Documents from the 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 incapacitated
  • Judgments or other documents formatted to meet court requirements
  • Fixture filings or the National approved UCC forms


  • Standard Documents that meet both the statutory requirements and formatting standards will have only the per page recording fee schedule applied
  • 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.
  • Note: For a document that releases or assigns more than one item, there is a $5.00 per each additional item charge.


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