A deed is a written instrument which conveys an interest in real property from a grantor to a grantee. The deed a grantor uses to convey the property varies depending on the type of transfer being made and the warranties being conveyed therewith. The most common types of deeds are:
- Grant deeds;
- Warranty Deeds;
- Quitclaim Deeds;
- Deeds of Trust;
- Mortgages; and
- Deed to Secure Debt.
Errors in Deeds
Because deeds are drafted by humans, they sometimes contain errors. If an error in a deed is not corrected it could have a legal and financial impact for the grantor, the grantee, and the attorney who drafted the deed. Oftentimes, an error in a deed may not be discovered until a property owner is attempting to refinance or sell. Some of the most common errors which appear in deeds are:
- Misspellings of the names of the grantor and/or grantee;
- Incorrect address;
- Incorrect legal description; and
- Incorrect loan terms, including the interest rate, loan amount, and term.
How are Errors in Deeds Corrected?
If an error in a deed is discovered before it is recorded, the grantor may be required to sign a corrected version of the deed. In most instances, the closing attorney or title company will contact the grantor and schedule a time for him to come in and sign the corrected deed.
If a deed has already been recorded when the error is discovered, depending on the nature of the error, the grantor will be required to sign a “corrective deed”. The corrective deed must reference the recording information for the original deed and must state the nature of the correction being made.
In a case where the deed was recorded without a legal description, the attorney will simply attach the legal description as an exhibit and have the deed re-recorded. The attorney must insert a recital on the deed which states that it is being re-recorded to add the legal description.
If the grantor is unavailable or refuses to sign a corrective deed, the attorney may execute and record a scrivener’s affidavit. A scrivener’s affidavit must include certain information, including:
- The property address;
- The legal description of the property;
- The recording information for the deed which contains the error;
- A statement that the attorney drafted the deed containing the error;
- A description of the error; and
- An explanation of how the deed should have read.
Getting Legal Help
Experienced real estate attorneys routinely draft deeds and are trained to closely proof read them to avoid errors. If you learn that a deed has an error, you should contact the real estate attorney who drafted it so that he can work with you to correct it.