How can I get a mistake on a deed corrected?

Mari11 asked...

My husband and I were married in 2004. In 2005 he made a deed out that included me as co-owner of his residence and property. We were reviewing this deed at the courthouse several months ago and were astonished to find out that it included a reference to a deed book and page completely unrelated to our property!

Does this render this deed useless? What can we do to fix this? My husband is in poor health and what if he passes away before we fix this? What if we need to sell our property?

Expert Answer

I think you should have the mistake on the deed corrected. How you do that depends both on your state's law and its customary real estate deed practice.

Not knowing your state, its law or customary deed practice, I can't give a definitive answer on whether the current mistake on the deed renders that deed useless. It shouldn't, especially as this was not an error you made. But, as I've well-learned, law is not always fair or reasonable. To be safe, have the deed corrected.

To correct the deed, I'd start by talking with a title company. Ask them how you can get a deed corrected where there is an obvious mistake not caused by you, the owners. But the title company may say, ":We can't help. You'll have to see a lawyer." That would be unfortunate. Why should you have to pay a lawyer to correct a mistake you didn't make? But better to pay a lawyer than be stuck with a troublesome deed.

If you have to see a lawyer, call several and see what they'd charge. This should be a relatively simple legal matter. After all, you wouldn't be suing anyone, or be involved in any conflict. You only want to straighten out a mistake someone else made. Keep looking until you find a lawyer who knows how to get this done, at a reasonable cost.