3 minute read

How to Correct an Error in a Deed in California

Have you recently noticed an error on a deed that needs correction? Learn how to correct a deed in California with this guide from Trust & Will.

Patrick Hicks

Patrick Hicks, @PatrickHicks

Head of Legal, Trust & Will

We’re all human, and mistakes happen. There may come a day when you’re conducting a thorough review of your estate plan and related legal documents. Uh oh! You’re looking at the deed to your house, only to realize that after all these years, there had been a typo on it! 

As someone with an estate plan in place, you’re worried that this typo could interfere with your future plans of transferring your property to a loved one. Naturally, you want to correct this error right away.

If you live in California, then consider yourself lucky. The State of California allows property owners to correct their deeds using one of two ways: an affidavit or a correction deed. Keep reading to find out when to use a scrivener’s affidavit and when to use a corrective deed in California

What are the two ways to correct an error on a deed in California? 

Errors on deeds should be avoided, but are not necessarily uncommon. Common mistakes include typos, misspellings, and missing information. There can also be errors in the property description or in the way in which co-ownership was established. 

Whatever your personal deed error might be, as a California resident, you have access to two options on how to correct your deed: 

Keep reading to find out what these two options are, and when you should use one over the other.

When to use a scrivener's affidavit in California

A Scrivener’s Affidavit is a sworn statement written and signed by the person who originally created the deed in question. The Affidavit doesn’t correct anything; rather, it adds information to the recorded deed and property information to amend, address, or clarify information on the original deed.

The use of the Scrivener’s Affidavit is limited. It’s only intended as a supplemental instrument to a deed and should only be used when there are no major changes required. It’s best used when the owner needs to provide supplemental information to prevent a potential title issue. If there is an actual error on the deed, it’s usually best to use a correction deed.

When to use a correction deed in California

Now, you may be wondering when to use a correction deed in California, as opposed to a Scrivener’s Affidavit. Whenever you have an error on your deed that needs to be corrected, then a corrective deed is often the best option. Errors on your deed can lead to title defects and you can run into issues when it comes to transferring your property later on.

By establishing a corrective deed, you’re not overriding your existing deed or creating a new property interest. Rather, it is an additional document that references the original deed and points out and corrects any errors.

For instance, the legal property description could have a piece of incorrect information. Or, your original deed misspells your name. California state law permits you to use a corrective deed to revise these types of errors.

How to correct a deed in California

Deed errors should be avoided but can happen. A mistake on a deed could be due to simple human error, and it can also happen because an individual attempted to create a deed without the proper resources or professional guidance. 

Luckily, you can use a corrective deed in California to amend any errors you might find on your recorded property deed. If you do find any mistakes or typos on your deed, make sure you record your correction deed form California as soon as you property can. This can help remedy any title defects and prevent complications later down the line. 

To create a correction deed, prepare a copy of your originally-recorded deed. Next to the title, add the words “Corrective” or “Correction.” Then, comb through the original deed and proceed to fix any errors that were made. For instance, if your legal property description contained some incorrect information, be sure to provide the corrected information. If your legal name was misspelled in the original deed, make sure that every mention of your name has the correct spelling in the correction deed where appropriate.

In the body of the deed, be sure to include an explanation regarding why you are choosing to amend your deed. You can choose to place this explanation in the upper right-hand corner of the document. Also be sure to provide vital information regarding the original deed, such as how the title was taken. Also include the recording information, such as the recording date, the document instrument number, and the change(s) you are making to the deed.

As a reminder, rules regarding deeds and corrections to deeds vary from state to state. This guide was specific to property owners in California. If you live in a different state, some information may not apply. Be sure to verify the rules and procedures in your respective state should your home be located outside of California. 

If you’re an individual dealing with the likes of property ownership and managing related legal documents, you should also be thinking of your estate plan. Changes or updates to your real estate portfolio should remind you to create, review, and update your estate plan! This is because your real estate is an important aspect of your personal property that you would likely include in your Will and/or Trust. Be sure that you can effectively transfer your property to your loved ones one day by staying on top of your legal documents, including your deed and your estate plan!

Trust & Will makes it easy for individuals to create and manage their estate plans. Through our platform, you can easily manage your assets, store documents in our secure digital safe, and update your estate plan as needed. Take our free quiz to see where you should get started, or compare our different estate planning options today!

Is there a question here we didn’t answer? Browse more topics in our Learn Center or chat with a live member support representative!

Trust & Will is an online service providing legal forms and information. We are not a law firm and we do not provide legal advice.