WVC 39 -
CHAPTER 39. RECORDS AND PAPERS.
WVC 39 - 1 -
ARTICLE 1. AUTHENTICATION AND RECORD OF WRITINGS.
WVC 39 - 1 - 1
§39-1-1. Power of attorney may be recorded.
A power of attorney may be admitted to record in any county.
WVC 39 - 1 - 2
§39-1-2. Conditions under which county clerk shall admit deeds,
contracts, etc., to record.
The clerk of the county court of any county in which any
deed, contract, power of attorney, or other writing is to be, or
may be, recorded, shall admit the same to record in his office,
as to any person whose name is signed thereto, when it shall have
been acknowledged by him, or proved by two witnesses as to him,
before such clerk of the county court.
But notwithstanding such acknowledgment or proof, such clerk
shall not admit to record any contract, deed, deed of trust,
mortgage or other instrument that secures the payment of any
debt, unless such contract, deed, deed of trust, mortgage, or
other instrument sets forth therein who, at the time of the
execution and delivery thereof, is the beneficial owner of the
debt secured thereby, and where he resides: Provided, however,
That in the case of a mortgage or a deed of trust securing an
issue of negotiable notes or bonds exceeding five in number and
payable to bearer, it shall not be necessary that the mortgage or
deed of trust show who are the beneficial owners of such notes or
bonds, but in such case such mortgage or deed of trust shall show
the name and address of the person or corporation with or by whom
the notes or bonds have been, or are to be, first negotiated.
WVC 39 - 1 - 2 A
§39-1-2a. Other requirements for admission to record of certain
(a) In addition to the other requirements prescribed by law,
no instrument by which the title to real estate or personal
property, or any interest therein or lien thereon, is conveyed,
created, encumbered, assigned or otherwise disposed of, shall be
recorded or admitted to record, or filed by the county clerk unless
the name of the person who, and governmental agency, if any, which,
prepared such instrument appears at the conclusion of such
instrument and such name is either printed, typewritten, stamped,
or signed in a legible manner: Provided,
That the recording or
filing of any instrument in violation of the provisions of this
section shall not invalidate or cloud the title passing by or under
such instrument or affect the validity of such instrument in any
respect whatever, and such recorded or filed instrument shall
constitute notice with like effect as if such instrument fully
complied with the provisions of this section. An instrument will
be in compliance with this section if it contains a statement in
the following form: "This instrument was prepared by (name)".
(b) This section does not apply to any instrument executed
prior to the effective date hereof; to any decree, order, judgment
or writ of any court; to any will or death certificate; to any
financing, continuation or termination statement permitted to be
filed under chapter forty-six of this code; or to any instrument
executed or acknowledged outside of this state.
(c) A survey document intended to be used in the transfer of
real property, prepared by a licensed surveyor, and filed with a
county clerk or accepted by a public official of this state shall
have the licensed surveyor's signature and seal or stamp affixed
(d) If a survey document, prepared by a licensed surveyor, has
been altered from its original form, it shall not be filed with a
county clerk or accepted by a public official of this state, until
the original licensed surveyor has initialed the changes.
(e) A document, plan, map, drawing, exhibit, sketch or
pictorial representation prepared by a person exempted under the
provisions of thirteen-a, chapter thirty of this code, is not
required to have the signature and seal affixed thereto.
(f) A document, plan, map, drawing, exhibit, sketch or
pictorial representation altered by a person not licensed under the
provisions of article thirteen-a, chapter thirty of this code,
shall have the alteration initialed by a surveyor licensed under
the provisions of article thirteen-a, chapter thirty of this code.
WVC 39 - 1 - 2 B
§39-1-2b. Recordation of certified copies of certain instruments.
Except as provided in this section, the clerk of the county
commission of any county shall admit to record in the office of
such clerk a copy of any contract, deed of trust, mortgage, lease,
memorandum of lease, release, assignment, power of attorney or any
other instrument or writing which has been certified by the clerk
of the county commission of any other county of this state as being
a true and correct copy and transcript from the records of said
county. Any such recordations prior to the effective date of this
section shall constitute notice with like effect as if such
original instrument had been recorded therein. This section does
not apply to deeds, wills or to any instrument filed in accordance
with chapter forty-six of this code.
WVC 39 - 1 - 3
§39-1-3. Who may take acknowledgment.
Upon the request of any person interested therein, such
clerk of the county court shall also admit any such writing to
record, as to any person whose name is signed thereto, upon a
certificate of his acknowledgment before the president of a
county court, a justice of the peace, notary public, recorder,
prothonotary or clerk of any court, within the United States, the
Philippine Islands, Island of Puerto Rico, Territory of Alaska,
Territory of Hawaii, or any other territory, possession or
dependency of the United States, or a commissioner appointed
within the same by the governor of this state, written or annexed
to the same; or upon a certificate so written or annexed under
the official seal of any ambassador, minister plenipotentiary,
minister resident, charge d'affaires, consul general, consul,
deputy consul, vice consul, consular agent, vice consular agent,
commercial agent, or vice commercial agent, appointed by the
government of the United States to any foreign country, or of the
proper officer of any court of record of such country, or of the
mayor or other chief magistrate of any city, town or corporation
therein, that such writing was acknowledged by such person, or
proved as to him by two witnesses, before any person having such
appointment, or before such court, mayor, or chief magistrate.
WVC 39 - 1 - 4
§39-1-4. Form of certificate of acknowledgment.
The certificate of acknowledgment mentioned in the preceding
section may be in form or effect as follows:
State (territory or district) of ................., county of
.........................., to wit:
I, ........., recorder of said municipality; or I,
.............., a notary public of said county; or I,
............., a clerk of the ................... court of said
county; (or other officer or person authorized to take
acknowledgments by section three of this article, as the case may
be), do certify that ..........................., whose name (or
names) is (or are) signed to the writing above (or hereto annexed)
bearing date on the .......... day of ................, 20
........., has (or have) this day acknowledged the same before me,
in my said .....................
Given under my hand this ....... day of .........., 20 .......
WVC 39 - 1 - 4 A
§39-1-4a. Acknowledgment of persons in the military service of the
United States of America.
Upon the request of any person interested therein, the clerk
of the county court of any county in which any deed, contract,
power of attorney, or other writing is to be, or may be, recorded,
shall admit the same to record as to any person whose name is
signed thereto who is in the military service of the United States
(including the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps, Women's Appointed
Volunteers for Emergency Service, Army Nurse Corps, "Spars,"
Women's Reserve, or similar women's auxiliary unit officially
connected with the military service of the United States) or who is
the spouse of any one in the military service of the United States
(including the aforesaid components and auxiliary units officially
connected therewith), upon the certificate of acknowledgment of
such person before any commissioned officer of any branch of the
military service of the United States, or auxiliary unit officially
connected with such military service. Such acknowledgment may be
taken at any place either within or outside of the United States of
America, or any territory, possession or dependency thereof. The
certificate of such acknowledgment need not state the place where
same is taken and shall require no seal to be affixed thereto. The
officer certifying such acknowledgment must state his rank, branch
of military service, and identification number; and such
certificate of acknowledgment may be in form and effect as follows:
IN THE MILITARY SERVICE OF THE UNITED STATES:
I, .................., a commissioned officer in the military
service of the United States, do certify that .............., who is a member of the military service of the United States (or of
.............., an auxiliary to the military forces of the United
States), and/or ............., husband (or wife) of ............,
a member of the military service of the United States (or of
.............., an auxiliary to the military forces of the United
States), whose name(s) is (are) signed to the foregoing writing
bearing date on the ......... day of .............., 19....., has
(have) this day acknowledged the same before me; and I further
certify that I am a .................. in the ...................
of the United States and (state rank) my identification number is
Given under my hand this ....... day of ............, 19....
(Signature of Officer)
WVC 39 - 1 - 5
§39-1-5. Acknowledgment by husband and wife.
When a husband and wife have signed a writing purporting to
sell or convey real estate, the wife may acknowledge the same
together with, or separately from her husband. Either the husband
or the wife may sign and acknowledge the writing before the other
has signed or acknowledged it. If both acknowledge the writing at
the same time, the certificate of the acknowledgments may be in
form or effect as follows:
State (territory or district) of .......... county of
.........., to wit:
I, .........., a notary public of the said county of
..........; or I, .........., clerk of the ......... court or
county of ........; (or other officer or person authorized to take
acknowledgments by section three of this article, as the case may
be),* do certify .......... and .........., his or her wife whose
names are signed to the writing above (or hereto annexed) bearing
date the ..... day of .........., 20....., have this day
acknowledged the same before me in my said ...........
Given under my hand this ......... day of ........., 20.......
If the husband or wife acknowledge a deed or other writing
separately from the other, the certificate of acknowledgment after
the star in the foregoing form shall be in form or effect as
follows: do certify that .........., the wife of .........., (or
the husband of .........., as the case may be), whose name is signed to the writing above (or hereto annexed) bearing date the
.......... day of .........., 20 ....., has this day acknowledged
the same before me in my said ..........
Given under my hand this .......... day of .........., 20
WVC 39 - 1 - 6
§39-1-6. Certificates as to wives living separate and apart to be
prima facie evidence in certain cases.
The certificate of acknowledgment heretofore taken of a
married woman to a deed or other writing conveying, or agreeing
to sell and convey, real estate which was her sole and separate
property, purporting to show that at the time of its execution
and acknowledgment such married woman was living separate and
apart from her husband, shall, in all cases where the validity of
any such deed or other writing comes in question, be prima facie
evidence of the facts therein stated.
WVC 39 - 1 - 7
§39-1-7. False certificate of acknowledgment.
If any person shall in any case wilfully make any false
certificate of acknowledgment, contrary to the true facts in the
case, or shall certify the acknowledgment of any person whom he
does not personally know to be the person whose name is signed to
the writing acknowledged, he shall be guilty of a misdemeanor,
and, upon conviction thereof, be fined not more than five hundred
dollars, and imprisoned not more than sixty days, at the
discretion of the court.
WVC 39 - 1 - 8
§39-1-8. Form of certificate of acknowledgment by attorney in
When any writing has been executed by an attorney in fact,
and an acknowledgment of the execution thereof is required or
authorized for any purpose, the certificate of acknowledgment may
be in form or effect as provided in section four of this article
as far as the words "do certify," and thence as follows: do
certify that .........., whose name is signed to the writing
above (or hereto annexed) bearing date the .......... day of
.........., 19....., as attorney in fact for .........., has this
day acknowledged the same before me in my said ..........
Given under my hand this .......... day of .........., 19.....
WVC 39 - 1 - 9
§39-1-9. Acknowledgment by corporations.
The certificate of acknowledgment of a corporation may be in
form or effect as prescribed in section four of this article as
far as the words "do certify" and thence as follows: do certify
that .........., who signed the writing above (or hereto
annexed), bearing date the .......... day of .........., 19.....,
for .......... (name of corporation), has this day in my said
county, before me, acknowledged the said writing to be the act
and deed of said corporation.
Given under my hand this .......... day of .........., 19......
WVC 39 - 1 - 10
§39-1-10. When certificate to be under official seal.
If any acknowledgment be before a notary without this state,
he shall certify the same under his official seal.
WVC 39 - 1 - 10 A
§39-1-10a. Verification by written statement under certain
Any certificate, return, form, statement, or other document
which is required by the state of West Virginia, or any office,
department or agency thereof, and which does not require an
acknowledgment under this article or other laws of recordation of
the state of West Virginia, may be verified by written declaration
that it is made under the penalties of perjury and such declaration
shall be in lieu of any oath otherwise required.
Any person making any false statement in any certificate,
return, statement, or other document verified by such written
declaration shall be subject to the same penalties as would be
applicable had the same been verified by oath duly taken and
WVC 39 - 1 - 11
§39-1-11. Recordation of writings and plats and papers annexed;
index; interlineations; filing under Uniform
Every writing (except financing, continuation and
termination statements and other statements and writings
permitted to be filed under chapter forty-six of the code)
authorized by law to be recorded, when admitted to record, shall,
with all certificates of acknowledgment, and all plats, schedules
and other papers thereto annexed or thereon indorsed, be recorded
by, or under the direction of, the clerk of the county court, in
a well-bound book, to be carefully preserved; and there shall be
an index to such book as well in the name of the grantee as of
the grantor. After being so recorded, such writing may be
delivered to the party entitled to claim under the same. If,
except in those cases where such writing is recorded by
photography or similar process producing exact facsimile copies,
there appear upon such writing, or any paper or certificate
annexed thereto, any interlineation, erasure or alteration, of
which no memorandum is contained in the writing, paper or
certificate, the clerk shall append to the record thereof a
memorandum describing as accurately as may be such
interlineation, erasure or alteration; and such memorandum shall
be copied into every such writing, paper or certificate. Every
such memorandum shall be prima facie evidence of what is therein
That the clerk of the county court may refuse
to accept for recordation any instrument printed on both sides of
the paper or printed in whole or part in smaller than ten point type with at least two points separating each line. Any failure
of such instrument to be so accepted by the clerk of the county
court shall not affect the validity thereof as to the parties
thereto: Provided, however,
That any such instrument shall be
accepted by the clerk for recording at one and one-half times the
legal fee therefor.
Financing, continuation and termination statements and other
statements and writings permitted to be filed under chapter
forty-six of the code shall be filed in a proper file by the
clerk of the county court or the secretary of state, as the case
may be, as specified in said chapter forty-six. Such statements
and writings filed in the office of the clerk of the county court
and such statements and writings filed in the office of the
secretary of state shall be indexed according to the name of the
debtor and shall disclose the assigned file number and the
address of the debtor given in the respective statement or
writing. The date and hour of filing and the file number shall
be noted on the statement or writing involved. A financing,
continuation or termination statement or other statement or
writing permitted to be filed under chapter forty-six of the code
may, after the same ceases to be effective or lapses, as
specified in said chapter forty- six, be removed from the files
in the office of the clerk of the county court or the secretary
of state, as the case may be, and destroyed.
WVC 39 - 1 - 11 A
§39-1-11a. Photographic recordation.
It shall be as legal and effective in all respects to
photographically record writings, plats and maps and the papers
thereto annexed as if such writings, plats and maps and papers
thereto annexed had been recorded by handwriting, or by the use of
a typewriter, or by any other means useful for the purpose.
WVC 39 - 1 - 12
§39-1-12. Special recordation of writing not acknowledged or
proved for regular recordation.
If any writing which it is lawful for a clerk of the county
court to admit to record, on proper acknowledgment or proof, has
been or shall be lodged in his office, and has remained or shall
remain therein six months without being acknowledged or proved so
that it can be duly admitted to record, the clerk of the county
court shall, for the preservation thereof, when required by any
person interested, copy the same into a book separate from those
in which writings properly acknowledged or proved are recorded,
and keep an index to such book, as in the case of writings duly
admitted to record. In case of the loss or destruction of any
such writing, such copy shall be prima facie evidence of the
WVC 39 - 1 - 13
§39-1-13. Duty to record plat or plan of lots.
When any tract or parcel of land within the limits of any
county of the state has been or shall be hereafter subdivided
into lots by any partition of land or by order of the owner or
owners, or his or their agent, or otherwise and any lot or lots
have been sold or conveyed, or are offered for sale, from the
tract or parcel of land so divided, according to a plat or plan
of subdivision, without such plat or plan of subdivision having
been filed for record, it shall be the duty of the owner or
owners of such tract of land, or his or their agent, authorizing
such plat or plan of subdivision of such tract of land to be laid
out, to file such plat or plan for record in the office of the
clerk of the county court and the office of the county assessor
of the county wherein such land so divided is situate.
WVC 39 - 1 - 13 A
§39-1-13a. Consolidation order book.
The county court of any county may order the clerk of such
county court to provide a book or series of books, to be entitled
"Consolidation Order Book," in which such clerk shall record all
real estate consolidation orders entered by the county court
pursuant to section seventeen, article four, chapter eleven of this
code, and likewise to provide an index therefor in which shall be
entered pertinent index data consistent with the provisions of
section two, article two of this chapter. The county court shall
provide funds for the payment for such record book, index and other
necessary supplies incident to the keeping thereof.
WVC 39 - 1 - 14
§39-1-14. Notification to file plat for record.
Upon notice from the clerk of the county court wherein such
land so divided is situate, or upon notice from any person owning
a lot or lots (or an undivided share or any interest therein) in
any such tract or parcel of land so divided, to the owner or
owners or his or their agent, that the plat or plan of
subdivision has not been properly filed, the owner or owners, or
his or their agent, shall cause the same to be properly filed for
record within sixty days from such notification.
WVC 39 - 1 - 15
§39-1-15. Failure to file plat after notification.
If such owner, or owners, or his or their agent, upon having
been so notified, shall fail to cause such plat or plan to be
filed in such offices as aforesaid, such owner, or owners, or his
or their agent, shall forfeit and pay the sum of two hundred
dollars for each period of sixty days that shall elapse after
such notification without such plat having been filed for record,
such sum or sums to be recovered as debts of like amount are by
law recoverable at the suit of any party, or parties, giving such
notice. The party or parties bringing such suit shall be
entitled to one half of the amount so recovered and the other
half shall go to the county fund of such county.
WVC 39 - 1 - 16
§39-1-16. Approval by city council or commissioners prerequisite
to laying out subdivision.
In case a proposed subdivision of any lot or parcel of land
is situate within the corporate limits of any municipality, or
abutting thereon, it shall be the duty of the owner, or owners,
or his or their agent, to submit a plat or plan of such
subdivision to the council or commissioners of such municipality,
showing the street and alley connections that such subdivision
makes with such municipality, and furnishing full information for
the purpose of determining whether the proposed subdivision will
impede or prevent the further development and extension of such
municipality where such subdivision is situate. Before any such
subdivision is finally laid out, it shall have the approval of
the council or commissioners of the municipality wherein the
subdivision is situate, or upon which it abuts, and such approval
and the date thereof shall be indicated on the plat or plan of
such subdivision before the same is finally filed in the office
of the clerk of the county court and the county assessor's
WVC 39 - 1 - 17
§39-1-17. Duty to provide cornerstone monuments; acknowledgment
or proof not necessary to recordation of plat.
It shall be the duty of the engineer in charge, or the
owner, or owners, or the agent of the owner or owners, of any
subdivision of land in this state to have permanent cornerstone
monuments, of stone or concrete, not less than twenty-four inches
in length by six inches square at the top, or not less than six
inches in diameter, with proper centers, placed at the most
important corners (where permanent corners do not already exist)
so that there shall be not less than two permanent corners to
each lot or block of any subdivision thereafter made, and the
position of the same shall be indicated on the plan or map when
finally filed for record. No certificate of acknowledgment, or
other proof thereof, shall be necessary or prerequisite to the
recordation of such plat, map or plan.
Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2015 Regular Session
The WV Code Online is an unofficial copy of the annotated WV Code, provided as a convenience. It has NOT been edited for publication, and is not in any way official or authoritative.