(a) This section shall only apply in DeKalb County. The purpose of this section is to facilitate the use of public records in property transactions in DeKalb County by providing for the installation of an improved system of indexing of instruments and documents affecting the title to real and personal property that are recorded in the office of judge of probate and for the indexing of other instruments, documents, and other uses at the discretion of the judge of probate.
(b) The following words and phrases, including the plural of any thereof, whenever used in this section, shall have the following respective meanings:
(1) GENERAL PROPERTY INSTRUMENT. A real property instrument that affects the title to personal property as well as real property.
(2) IMPROVED INDEXING SYSTEM. A system of indexing real property instruments and personal property instruments in the probate office and, at the discretion of the judge of probate, of indexing other instruments and documents, which system when completed, shall consist of the equipment necessary and suitable to prepare and index records.
(3) PERSONAL PROPERTY INSTRUMENT. Any instrument or document affecting the title to personal property only, as distinguished from real property, that may be now or hereafter titled for record in the probate office, in accordance with the application requirements of the law of this state, including particularly Section 35-4-50 and Section 35-4-90.
(4) REAL PROPERTY INSTRUMENT. Includes any instrument or document affecting title to real property that may now or hereafter be filed for record in the probate office pursuant to the application requirements of the law of this state including, but without limitation to, Section 12-13-43 and all statutes providing for the filing and recording of notices or statements of liens of any kind, notices of judgments, and plats or maps showing subdivisions of real estate.
(c) The judge of probate may provide for the installation and thereafter for the maintenance of an improved indexing system in the probate office of the county. The initial installation of the improved indexing system shall include the following:
(1) The acquisition of the equipment provided for in the definition hereinabove set forth of an indexing system.
(2) The establishment of procedures for the continued indexing and filing of all instruments and records that, after the effective installation date, constitute any part of the improved indexing system.
(d) The initial installation under subsection (c) shall be supervised and inspected by a person who is experienced in handling records pertaining to abstracts and title. Following its installation in the county, the improved indexing system shall be thereafter maintained in the county and all real property instruments, general property instruments, personal property instruments, and other documents and records herein provided to constitute a part of the system, that may be thereafter filed for record in the probate office of the county, shall be in accordance with the improved indexing system. Each real property instrument and each personal property instrument shall be operated as a record from the time of its delivery to the judge of probate of the county, in accordance with existing law.
(e) All provisions of the law of Alabama with the respect to the recording of real property instruments, personal property instruments, and other instruments and records that may constitute part of any improved indexing system installed hereunder including, but without limitation, Section 12-13-43 and all statutes respecting the filing and recording of notes or statements of liens of any kind, notices of lis pendens, declarations of claims or exemptions, certificates of judgments, or plats of maps showing subdivisions of real estate that are not inconsistent with this section shall continue in effect with respect to the improved indexing system, the recording of instruments therein, and the duties of the judge of probate with respect thereto.
(f) Nothing contained in this section, however, shall prohibit the county from using any part of its own funds for the purpose of paying the cost of installing, operating, and maintaining any improved system installed pursuant to this section.
(g) On May 13, 2009, this section becomes applicable to DeKalb County and a special indexing fee of four dollars ($4) shall be paid to the county and collected by its judge of probate with respect to each real property instrument and each personal property instrument that may be filed for record in the office of the judge of probate and for the recording of other instruments and documents in the probate office at the discretion of the judge of probate. On and after May 13, 2009, no such instrument shall be received for record in the office of the judge of probate unless the special indexing fee of four dollars ($4) is paid thereon. The special indexing fee shall be in addition to all other fees, taxes, and other charges required by law to be paid upon the filing for record of any real property instrument or personal property instrument and documents in the probate office in the discretion of the judge of probate. The special indexing fee collected by the judge of probate and paid to the county shall be deposited by the judge of probate to any bank in DeKalb County and spent by the judge of probate, at his or her discretion, for the improvement of the office of the judge of probate in DeKalb County. The fees collected under this section shall be controlled by the sole discretion of the judge of probate and shall be audited by the Department of Examiners of Public Accounts.