The vast majority of states in the United States employ a system of recording legal instruments (otherwise known as deeds registration) that affect the title of real estate as the exclusive means for publicly documenting land titles and interests. This system differs significantly from land registration systems, such as the Torrens system that have been adopted in a few states. The principal difference is that the recording system does not determine who owns the title or interest involved, which is ultimately determined through litigation in the courts. The system provides a framework for determining who the law will protect in relation to those titles and interests when a dispute arises.
The recording systems are established by state statute. They usually provide for the office of a recorder in each county or other jurisdiction. The names of these offices are usually the "Recorder of Deeds" or something similar. State statutes also prescribe the following elements