Several clients have called recently regarding a letter they received from Illinois Deed Provider, Inc. Illinois Deed Provider, Inc. proposes to obtain a certified copy of your deed for $89.50. My advice, save your money, or donate it to a worthy cause.
The letter claims that a certified copy of your deed "provides evidence that your property was transferred to you." It does no such thing. As a real estate attorney, I can assure you that it is absolutely unnecessary to have a certified copy of your deed. Deeds are not like the title to your car–you do not need your deed--original or copy--to sell your real estate or otherwise to prove ownership. One deed, standing on its own, is meaningless.
It is necessary to follow the chain of title to determine ownership. In other words, I could give you a deed to the Centennial Bridge, and it could be recorded, and you could obtain a certified copy of that document. However, unless I owned the Centennial Bridge, and the person who deeded the property to me owned it, and the person before that person, etc., you just received a deed to nothing. No amount of certification changes this simple fact.
Further, those documents are part of the permanent record at the Recorder’s Office, and you can obtain copies anytime you like. So, if it ever turns out for some peculiar reason you need a copy, it can be obtained with one visit to the Recorder’s Office. By the way, the Recorder's Office charges $49.00, there is no parking fee, and you only need to go there once, contrary to what the Illinois Deed Provider folks might try to tell you.
Their letter claims that the U.S. Government recommends that you have "an official or certified copy" of your deed. I looked at the page they say recommends this. It says nothing of the kind. The page contains a list of documents you should consider keeping in your safe deposit box. In the section regarding what you should keep in your safe deposit box, it says, "If applicable, you should have official or certified copies of documents for your safe deposit box" [emphasis added]. Since, in Illinois and Iowa at least, it is unnecessary to have a certified copy of your deed, I would state unequivocally that this recommendation is not applicable with regard to deeds.
The company appears to owned by an Illinois licensed real estate broker by the name of Barry Joel Isaacson. Mr. Isaacson is not an attorney, even though he is giving legal advice by explaining the legal effect of documents to others. In my opinion, this is the unauthorized practice of law.
If you receive this letter, please, please, please, just ignore it. If you are deadset on giving away money, please consider a donation to the Animal Aid Humane Society or the Quad City Animal Welfare Center instead of Mr. Isaacson. At least then it will be for a good cause.