Victoria County clerk to offer electronic filing service

Melissa Crowe By Melissa Crowe

Aug. 30, 2012 at 3:30 a.m.

Victoria County will soon offer online filing for real estate, powers of attorney and other legal documents.

County Clerk Robert Cortez said part of his vision for the office has been to offer more online services.

"We're taking baby steps toward that final goal of having electronic filing services," he said.

Once the county upgrades its filing system, at a ballpark cost of $44,000, title companies, attorneys offices and anyone else who file documents, will be able to do so with Simplifile.

Melba Beken, president of Century Oaks Title, attended a presentation Thursday by Simplifile to find out more about how her business can benefit.

Century Oaks, which is based in Lake Jackson, recently purchased Texas Title. It already uses electronic filing in Brazoria County.

"It's a time saver," Beken said. "Brazoria County has a lot of land, if you're 40 minutes from the courthouse, this saves driving there, paying mileage and time."

She said it just makes sense.

Cortez expects to have the service in place by the end of the year.

Robert Tapley, Simplifile's regional sales director, said the service comes with a $395 annual licensing fee and charges $5 per document filed.

There was some concern during the meeting regarding originals and copies.

Users sign a memorandum of understanding that they will only file original or certified copies of original documents, especially where "wet signatures" are concerned.

"When the document is sent back electronically, it becomes the original," Tapley said.

Since the company filed its first document in January 2003, more than 750 counties in 47 states have joined.

"It's a new, better and more efficient way to send your documents off to be recorded and returned," he said.

Cortez said what once took days to mail in and process, will now only take an hour or two.

"It's going to facilitate the process not only for the real estate buyer, but also for their title service buyer," Cortez said.



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