When creating legal documents, especially real estate documents, precision and accuracy are more than just good practices – they’re essential. Real estate deeds must be error free to ensure property rights are transferred as intended. Unfortunately, despite a scrivener’s best efforts, mistakes do happen. The good news is that Missouri has at least two options to correct such errors:
- A Correction Deeds; and
- An Affidavit of Scrivener’s Error.
UNDERSTANDING CORRECTION DEEDS
A Correction Deed is the most common method of fixing errors that are contained in recorded deeds. A Correction Deed can be used for explicitly for rectifying minor to moderate errors found in a previously recorded conveyance deed.
A Correction Deed’s primary purpose is to correct errors or omissions in a previous real estate deed that could potentially cloud the title to the property. These inaccuracies could range from typographical errors and misspelled names to incorrect property legal descriptions.
Differentiating between a Correction Deed and a regular Conveyance Deed is essential as they serve different roles in real estate transactions.
A standard Conveyance Deed‘s primary function is to transfer a property’s legal title or ownership rights from one party to another. On the other hand, a Correction Deed doesn’t necessarily serve to transfer any property rights or title, but to merely correct a previous conveyance. It can provide clarity and rectify any such previous errors in a deed that has already been recorded.
The role of a Correction Deed is like that of a clarifying note, helping to iron out any potential misunderstandings caused by inaccuracies in the original Conveyance Deed. This step is incredibly significant as it ensures the smooth progression of future transactions involving the property.
Common Situations for Using a Correction Deed
A Correction Deed can be essential in rectifying certain mistakes that may have occurred while drafting a conveyance deed. However, it’s necessary to ascertain when a Correction Deed is appropriate. Some common instances where a Correction Deed might be utilized include:
- Misspelled Names: This is one of the most common errors in property deeds. It could occur due to a typographical error or a misunderstanding while preparing the document.
- Omitted Marital Status: In real estate deeds, failing to include the marital status of a party, or misidentifying the status, can lead to complications involving the intersection of property rights and marital property laws. A Correction Deed can often amend this oversight.
- Relationships of the Parties: If the parties were incorrectly identified in their relationship to one another.
- Typos in the Legal Description of the Property: Property deeds include a detailed legal description of the property. Any errors in this part, like incorrect map block or parcel numbers, inaccurate measurements, or wrongful inclusion or exclusion of property features, can lead to severe legal issues.
While a Correction Deed is a powerful resource for remedying these issues, it’s crucial to note its limitations. More substantial changes, such as altering the stake of property ownership, changing the property’s boundaries, or other large-scale modifications, may not be handled with a Correction Deed.
A new deed of conveyance may be required to redress significant changes or gross inaccuracies, rather than a Correction Deed. The new deed of conveyance will then supersede the original deed and become the legally accepted version of the property rights and boundaries.
This differentiation is essential to streamline property conveyance and avoid potentially costly legal misunderstandings.
Legalities and Regulations On Correction Deeds in Missouri
Understanding the legal considerations surrounding Correction Deeds in Missouri is crucial in ensuring the successful amendment of any recorded deed. There are several things to keep in mind when thinking about creating or executing a Correction Deed:
- Absence of Fraud: The Correction Deed should be used honestly to rectify minor errors in the original deed, not for any fraudulent purposes.
- Rights of Third Parties: Using a Correction Deed should not infringe upon or alter the rights or claims of any third party not involved in the original deed. This ensures the fairness of the property transfer process.
- The “relation back” principle: A Correction Deed should often relate to the date of the original conveyance deed. That means the corrected information is considered adequate from the time of the initial deed, not from when the Correction Deed was recorded. This principle is paramount to maintaining the chain of title and the historical accuracy of property transactions.
Missouri courts have accepted Correction Deeds as a tool to amend recorded deeds for over a century. This long-standing acceptance makes the correction deed one of the most used and trusted methods to fix a previous deed that contains incorrect information. While filing a Correction Deed is relatively straightforward, it is governed by stringent legal criteria and regulations to protect all parties involved and uphold the integrity of the property conveyance process.
How to File a Correction Deed in Missouri
Understanding how to file a Correction Deed in Missouri properly is paramount to ensure the accuracy of property records. This process involves several essential steps:
- Identify the Necessary Parties: The original parties involved in the transaction, the grantor (the person who sells or transfers the property), and the grantee (the person who buys or receives the property) must be part of the Correction Deed.
- Reference to the Original Deed: The Correction Deed should reference the original deed it’s correcting. This reference should include the type of error, date of execution, recording number, and location of the original deed. By doing so, it builds a clear connection to the prior deed that is being corrected.
- Reiteration and Confirmation of Information: The information provided in the original deed must be reiterated and confirmed in the Correction Deed. This reiteration helps eliminate ambiguity about the facts and details that must be corrected.
- Recording the Correction Deed: Once prepared, it must be registered with the appropriate county recorder’s office to make it legally valid. This recording ensures that the corrected information is officially part of the public record.
While preparing a Correction Deed may seem straightforward, it still involves vital legal documentation. It’s always advisable to consult with a local real estate attorney or legal professional to assist with the process and ensure its validity.
Another Alternative: Affidavit of Scrivener’s Error
What happens if one or more of the parties who signed the original deed are not able or willing to sign a Correction Deed? What if a Correction Deed cannot be signed for some other reason? In these instances, an Affidavit of Scrivener’s Error might be another option.
An Affidavit of Scrivener’s Error, sometimes called a “Scrivener’s Affidavit”, might be more suitable than a Correction Deed in some cases. In such circumstances, the person who originally created the real estate deed (the “Scrivener”) can sign a sworn affidavit saying that they made a mistake, detailing exactly what the mistake was, and what the document should have said instead. If this is done correctly, with enough specificity, and signed in the form of a sworn affidavit, it can be used to correct previous inaccuracies in real estate deeds.
Much like a Correction Deed, a A Scrivener’s Affidavit is not suitable for all corrections, and cannot fix anything and everything. It is, however, another legal tool that can be used to correct minor errors in a deed. This may be preferable when the error is evident and uncontroversial, such as a typographical error.
The Significance of Correction Deeds
Filing a correction deed can be vital to ensure the integrity of property transfers and eliminate any potential disputes arising from inaccuracies in the initial deed. Don’t let the process overwhelm you. Reach out to The Affordable Legal Services LLC for guidance and help today.
Remember, accuracy in deeds is not just desirable – it’s a legal necessity – precision matters!