Register O’Donnell Guest Speaker at Needham Council on Aging

Continuing his efforts of bringing the Registry of Deeds directly to the citizens of Norfolk County, Register of Deeds William P. O’Donnell appeared November 20th as guest speaker before the Needham Council on Aging – Hot Breakfast event.


Register O’Donnell gave an overview of the Registry of Deeds which is the principal office for real property records in Norfolk County cataloguing and housing more than 8 million land documents dating back to 1793.


O’Donnell spent time discussing the advantages of the Massachusetts Homestead Act. “The Homestead Act is an important consumer protection tool for homeowners as it provides limited protection against the forced sale of an individual’s primary residence to satisfy unsecured debt up to $500,000,” stated O’Donnell.


The Register also reminded attendees about the importance of filing a mortgage discharge after their mortgage has been paid off. “When a mortgage has been paid off, a mortgage discharge document needs to be recorded with the Registry of Deeds to clear a homeowner’s property title relative to that loan. A discharge is a document (typically one-two pages) issued by the lender, usually with a title such as “Discharge of Mortgage” or “Satisfaction of Mortgage,” stated O’Donnell.


“In some cases,” noted O’Donnell, “discharges are filed directly by banks or settlement closing attorneys with the Registry as part of a property sale or as a result of a refinancing transaction. In other instances, the mortgage discharge is sent to the property owner who then becomes responsible for making sure the document is recorded. Whether or not a discharge is recorded by the lending institution or the individual property owner, it is important that the property owner makes sure all necessary documents have been recorded at the Registry of Deeds.”


Concluding his remarks, Register O’Donnell expressed his appreciation for being invited to speak before the Council on Aging. “I want to first of all thank those who attended. The audience was engaged and asked excellent questions. Additionally, I want to thank LaTanya Steele, Director of Aging Services, Aicha Kelley, Program Coordinator of the Needham Council on Aging and the entire team at the Center At The Heights who do an outstanding job serving the elderly community of Needham.”


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The Norfolk County Registry of Deeds is located at 649 High Street in Dedham.  The Registry is a resource for homeowners, title examiners, mortgage lenders, municipalities and others with a need for secure, accurate, accessible land record information.  All land record research information can be found on the Registry’s website  Residents in need of assistance can contact the Registry of Deeds Customer Service Center via telephone at (781) 461-6101, or email us at [email protected].




The Norfolk County Registry of Deeds will be closed on Thursday, July 4th in celebration of Independence Day. We are open Friday, July 5th.

The Norfolk County Registry of Deeds is closed Today, July 4th in celebration of Independence Day. We are open Friday, July 5th.