Due to incidences of real estate related fraud, additional recordkeeping precautions have been imposed for documents that transfer, or purport to transfer, title to residential real estate in Cook County. 5 ILCS 312/3-102. These additional recordkeeping requirements follow:
1. The notary public must maintain a Notarial Record in connection with each document of conveyance. The record must contain information such as the date, type of document, PIN, signature and address of signors, description of the satisfactory evidence for identification of signors, a certification that the property is Residential Real Property as defined in the Act and the notary’s phone number, address, commission expiration date, name of employer, and employer’s address. 5 ILCS 312/3-102 (c) (1-5). A sample Notarial Record for Cook County property transfers can be found in 5 ILCS 312/3-102 (f).
2. The notary public shall “require the person signing the document of conveyance…to place his or her right thumbprint on the Notarial Record.” 5 ILCS 312/3-102 (c)(6). The law also accounts for situations where a right thumbprint may not be available. In such cases, a left thumb, or any other available finger must be used. Further, if no thumbprint or fingerprint is available, it shall be so indicated on the Notarial Record, and an explanation of the physical condition impeding the availability of a fingerprint should also be included. All prints may be obtained by any means which “reliably captures the image of the finger in a physical or electronic medium.” Id.
3. If the notary is a principal, employee or agent of a Title Insurance Company, Title Insurance Agent, Financial Institution, or attorney at law, “the notary shall deliver the original Notarial Record to the to the notary’s employer or principal within fourteen (14) days after the performance…for retention for a period of seven years as part of the employer’s or principal’s business records” 5 ILCS 312/3-102 (d). In the case that a sale or merger occurs with the business entity or person employing the notary, the successor or assignee entity or person will assume responsibility for the seven (7) year retention requirement. In the case of liquidation or other cessation, the records should be delivered to the Cook County Recorder of Deeds for retention.
4. If the notary is not a principal, employee or agent of a Title Insurance Company, Title Insurance Agent, Financial Institution, or attorney at law, then the notary shall deliver the original Notarial Record to the Cook County Recorder of Deeds within fourteen (14) days after the performance. The Cook County Recorder of Deeds will then retain the record for the seven (7) year requirement. 5 ILCS 312/3-102 (e).
5. Notarial Records or any other mediums that contain captured images of thumbprints or fingerprints should not be made available or disclosed, except in the case of a subpoena received from a court of competent jurisdiction. 5 ILCS 312/3-102 (i).