• how to correct an error on a california deed

How to Correct an Error on a California Deed

It is common for people to make mistakes on their deeds. Fortunately, in California, property owners can use a Corrective Deed to correct any error to a recorded deed. Errors should be corrected as soon as possible. Doing so will reduce setbacks in the transfer of real property later on. Read on to learn more about how to correct an error on a California deed.

Common Deed Errors

A mistake to the deed occurs when there are misspellings, errors in legal descriptions and/or title, errors in the property address or when a wrong form of co-ownership is used. An error in the execution of the deed may also occur when the wrong form of notary acknowledgment is used or when all parties do not properly sign the deed. As mentioned above, any error in a deed should be corrected as soon as possible.

“I did not know what to do when I received a call from the Recorder’s office telling me that the deed I prepared was not correct. I did not know how to fix it or who to call.” S. Hartley
“I contacted a local title company and they referred me to A People’s Choice. They were able to quickly prepare a correction deed to fix the mistake. Great service at a cheap price.” S. Hartley

Need to Correct Error on California Deed?

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How to Correct an Error on a California Deed

If the deed has not been signed or recorded, you can easily correct an error on a California deed before the deed is recorded with the County Recorder’s office. In order to correct an error on a California deed, you will need to revise or modify the language in the deed to remove the error. If your deed has been signed and recorded, you will need to complete a Correction Deed or a Scrivener’s Affidavit to correct the error. Based on the type of error, you will need to decide the best process to correct the error.

A Corrective Deed is used to fix/correct an error on a California deed which has already been recorded. This type of deed does not create a new interest. The Corrective Deed will correct the deed document on the earlier transfer of interest. For example, if you sign and record a deed that misspells your last name, you can correct an error on a California deed utilizing a Corrective Deed to revise the error.

In comparison, a Scrivener’s Affidavit is a sworn statement signed by the person who created the incorrect deed. Unlike a Correction Deed, a Scrivener’s Affidavit doesn’t actually “correct” anything. Instead, it simply adds information to the property records to help clarify something about the earlier deed. Compared to a Corrective Deed or Correction Deed, A Scrivener’s Affidavit has very limited use. A Corrective Deed must be signed by the original transferor or transferors and includes all the information on a single document. A Corrective Deed provides much more detail than a Scrivener’s Affidavit. You should only use a Scrivener Affidavit when there are no substantive changes that are required, but rather it is simply necessary to provide other information that will resolve a potential title issue.

How to Create a Correction Deed

You can correct an error on a California deed through a Correction Deed or Corrective Deed. Usually deed errors are as a result of someone attempting to prepare a deed without proper knowledge or professional help. In this regard, to avoid further mistakes, you can inexpensively hire the services of a legal document assistant such as A People’s Choice to make sure the correction deed is prepared properly and actually “fixes” the problem. In order to create a correction deed, a  copy of the deed originally filed is created with the additional words “Corrective” or “Correction” next to the title. When the Correction Deed is prepared, the error made in the earlier deed should be fixed. For example, if your last name was misspelled, your name should be entered with the proper spelling in the Correction deed where appropriate. If the address, AP Number or legal description had an error, make whatever changes necessary to correct these items. Next, somewhere in the body of the deed, you will need to provide an explanation about why the deed is being modified. This explanation can also be placed in the upper right hand part of the document below the recording stamp area if there is room. It is important to provide all information about the previous recorded deed such as how the title was taken, as well as all recording information. This would include the recording date and document Instrument Number as well and the exact change you are making to the deed.

What is a Scrivener’s Affidavit?

As mentioned above, a Scrivener’s Affidavit is a sworn statement made by the person who drafted the deed. The affidavit statement is to provide other information to the property records to clarify information contained in the earlier deed. It is important to keep in mind that this type of affidavit should only be used when more information is needed to describe the recorded document. If an error is on the deed, it is best to use a Correction Deed to make a revision.

Contact A People’s Choice for more information on how to correct an error on a California deed. Title errors can create major problems if they are not corrected, and could impact a sale or distribution of property after death of an owner. A People’s Choice has over 35 years experience preparing Corrective Deeds and other types of legal documents. We have established a long-standing reputation for professional work and often receive referrals from title companies to help people with these matters. Call us today at 800-747-2780.

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By | 2018-01-18T15:46:26+00:00 March 6th, 2017|Real Property|8 Comments

About the Author:

Sandra M. McCarthy, founder of A People’s Choice Inc., has worked exclusively in the legal field since 1976. She served as the 2004-2005 President of CALDA (California Association of Legal Document Assistants). She obtained a Paralegal Certificate from the University of California, Santa Barbara. During her career in the legal field, she has worked as a freelance paralegal, law office manager and paralegal studies teacher, and has co-authored numerous legal publications and written hundreds of self-help legal articles. As a registered Legal Document Assistant, Sandy is dedicated to providing affordable, low-cost, self-help document preparation services for California consumers in all 58 counties.


  1. wayne July 18, 2017 at 6:51 pm - Reply

    Please post a sample CORRECTIVE DEED. Thanks.

    • Sandy McCarthy July 19, 2017 at 3:59 am - Reply

      All of our documents are custom prepared. We do not have a “sample” to post. Please call us if you’d like help in preparing a corrective deed.

  2. ,. July 22, 2017 at 8:12 am - Reply

    i am helping a previous client of mine who purchased a home in 2001. i was able to give then a Fha loan insured by Hud. In 2006 they fell behind on their payments and were offered a second mtg, an equity line of credit. they were given a $20,000 initial draw of which at the close of escrow $4,000.00 was taken off , not sure were it went, however the amount of their draw was $16,000.00. The investor did not open escrow with a title company and had the escrow done at his office. in the end the borrowers ended up with /$3,000. cash. when he questioned the amount the investor said $9,000 went to the first mtg to bring it current. so the additional $4,000.00 must have been closing cost etc. but what happened to the $4,000 they deducted from his initial draw of $20,000.00 . that is $8,000.00 left on the table and i have tried to get a final hud 1, however no escrow was opened. i have copies of the estimated closing statement. nothing in the file shows the investors signature on the loan papers and closing papers. my client only received partial forms signed by him.

    in 2008 my clients got behind on their second mortgage, total amount owing was $688.00 on the notice of default and the intent to sell. the nod also showed that they were behind on the senior loan. i have proof from the lender that they were not behind on the 1st mtg. so the investor sold the second on the steps and he was the only bidder and highest bidder. the investor now owns the second. but the investor thinks he owns the home. by the way my clients never received a nod, notice to sell and never heard from the investr regarding being three payment

    my clients continued to make the payments on the first, which included taxes and insurance since the trustee sale on the second. so nine years later the investor writes them a letter stating that they want to give him back ownership of the home if he will pay them $25,000.00, even though they do not owe him anything on the second. so i call this extortion. if you don’t pay you won’t get ownership back. sorry investor the first mtg has ownership rights and the borrowers have a note and deed of trust secured by the property the investor thinks he owns. my borrowers have equitable rights

    in reviewing the Deed of Trust the other day i realized that they do not have the correct address on the recorded deed of trust. does that make it unenforceable, according to California law it is unenforceable. what should i do next. i am not a lawyer

    • Sandy McCarthy July 23, 2017 at 1:00 am - Reply

      When a lender forecloses on a second trust deed, they do, in fact, take ownership of the real property subject to senior mortgages. It would seem that the investor is correct when they indicate that they own the home after foreclosure. If your client was continuing to pay the first trust deed, that certainly would be strange for over nine years. I would suggest you encourage your client to talk to an attorney right away. It sounds like this dispute will have to be litigated through the court system.

  3. Christine July 31, 2017 at 9:08 pm - Reply

    Thank you for the information this is helpful; but we still have a question. We have a lender who is being required by the investor to have the Deed of Trust re-executed because the notary acknowledgment did not reflect the borrower’s middle initial and the borrower signed with the middle initial. This is not a “substantive” change in our opinion, would a Scrivner’s Affidavit suffice? We are being told that a new Deed of Trust must be executed and a reconveyance instrument be executed to remove the original Deed of Trust.

    • Sandy McCarthy August 1, 2017 at 2:06 am - Reply

      I cannot advise you whether a Scrivner’s Affidavit would suffice. This is usually an issue that a title company would assess and make a determination on. If you are being told that a new document needs to be recorded I would assume that is coming from either the title company or the bank itself. Most likely you will need to comply. You may want to check with the title company or an attorney for further direction.

  4. Desiree Stafford October 13, 2017 at 6:37 am - Reply

    We have a property where the title company funded our loan it had two parcel numbers and one legal description. We only sold one parcel for the front property and kept the second.
    Well guess what happened the title company did not do a COC or divide the property and correct the legal. They funded the entire property sold to the person in the front and the investor who owns his mortgage.
    Title is stating they will not continue to fix this issue, that they created…. is this normal? We are looking to have an attorney to help us sue them.
    My family has been through a ton and we need your help!

    • Sandy McCarthy October 13, 2017 at 6:43 am - Reply

      You would definitely need to get a real estate attorney involved. I am not sure where you are located but you may want to contact Bruce Paller Esq at 805-654-1010. He handles a lot of real estate litigation matters.

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