About The Register of Deeds

The first Constitution of the State of Michigan adopted by Congress of the United States in 1836 established the office of Register of Deeds. The Register of Deeds is the official recording officer for all legal papers and instruments pertaining to the transfer and encumbrance of lands and properties within Van Buren County.

In 1829 the state legislature passed an Act organizing Van Buren County. It became a County by an Act of the Legislative Council of Michigan and approved October 29, 1829, in the same Act that created Cass, Berrien and Kalamazoo Counties.

It was not until 1837 that the people of Van Buren County were deemed sufficiently numerous to justify the responsibilities of assuming local self government. On March 18, 1837 an Act that formally organized Van Buren County was approved by Michigan’s first Governor Stevens T Mason.

Van Buren County’s first Register of Deeds was Jeremiah H. Simmons who served from 1837 until 1840.

The office records over 430 different types of documents (instruments). Only original documents with original signatures or certified court documents can be recorded.

These documents can be sent in or brought in for recording. Our staff reviews the documents prior to recording to insure they meet State Statute Recording Requirements. The documents are kept, by our office, until the recording process is completed. The original document is then returned to the person or organization who submitted the document for recording.

The Register of Deeds staff cannot give legal advice.

The recording of your document, by this office does not make your document legal. It makes your document public.

The Register of Deeds Office is part of county government that touches many other offices such as the Treasurer's office, the Sheriff's Department, the Land Management Department, Drain Commissioners Office, the Equalization department, the county Administrator's office, the Surveyor's office, The courts, and the Clerk's office, and is critical to county government.

Real Estate is a valuable asset in Van Buren County, amounting to billions of dollars.

By state law the Register of Deeds records or files legal documents that affect real property. Some examples include warranty, quitclaim, mineral, administrator, tax and sheriff’s deeds. The Register of Deeds also records mortgages, patents, oil and gas leases, plats and restrictions, rights of way, and various liens such as municipal, state, federal, and construction. In addition The Register of Deeds office records court orders, wills, and trusts.

Plat Board

The Register of Deeds also serves as Chairman of the County Plat Board pursuant to the Land Division Act 288 of 1967. This act established minimum standards for subdividing land and uniform procedures for the submission and approval of Plats. The purpose of the Plat Board is to maintain high standards and to establish written uniform procedures to permit land divisions or Plats within Van Buren County. The Van Buren County Plat Board meets on an as needed basis. To present a preliminary plat, please contact the office directly at (269) 657-8242.