Correction Deeds – Lifesavers to a Carelessly Drafted Deed?

Author: Craig Galanter

Contributing Editor: Harrison Long

Unlike material possessions which can be bought and sold on a whim, purchasing real property can be one of the most gratifying experiences in life. Buying a first home can cause a roller coaster of emotions – you are excited to be a first-time homeowner, then you may experience buyer’s remorse, and then are back to being excited as you walk through your new front door. Imagine, during your excitement, you realize the deed has a mistake on it and you begin to panic. Luckily, most errors can be easily corrected. Here, we will look at some of the most common errors that can be easily corrected with a correction deed and will look at which errors cannot be corrected with a correction deed.

What is a Correction Deed?

In Colorado, a previously recorded deed can be corrected by recording a second deed, called a correction or corrective deed. The sole purpose of a correction or corrective deed is to prevent potential title flaws, which may create problems when the current owner attempts to sell the real property. It is important to note, that a correction deed is not conveying title – it is confirming a prior conveyance.

The following errors can be corrected with a correction deed:

  • Misspelled names;
  • Omitted or wrong middle initial;
  • Minor error in the property description;[1]
  • Failure to include an execution date;
  • Faulty acknowledgment

These errors are usually referred to as scrivener’s errors. When correcting a scrivener’s error with a correction deed, it is good practice to note the specific error that is being corrected across the top of the deed. You will want to record the correction deed with the same office of the county clerk and recorder where the original deed was recorded. This will ensure that the correction deed is tied to the original deed. By doing so, will allow the correction deed to be found in a grantor-grantee title search.

The following situations, as promulgated by Colorado Real Estate Title Standards 3.5.5, cannot be fixed by correction deed:

  • The name of a grantee has been added or deleted;
  • The phrase “as joint tenants with the right of survivorship” has been added to or deleted from the habendum clause;
  • Deleting a portion of the originally transferred property

In these situations, a correction deed may be binding as among the grantor, the original grantee(s) and the subsequent grantee(s), but the correction deed does not provide marketable title. This is because the recording of the original deed terminated the period during which a title searcher must search under the name of the grantor in the Grantor index. Thus, the correction deed is not in the chain of title of a purchaser from the grantor, nor does the recording of the correction deed provide constructive notice of its contents to such purchaser.

To that end, a correction deed can be an easy solution to a simple error. However, should you have a situation where a correction deed cannot be used, it is imperative to speak with an experienced real estate attorney at Kearney, McWilliams & Davis. Our attorneys can help you determine which deed should be used, draft the deed and make sure it is correctly done the first time.

[1] A correction deed may be used to add property to a description. See Friend v. Stancato, 342 P.2d 643 (1959))