Erroneous descriptions of real property have historically occurred for a variety of reasons. What is one reason? Is "reformation of the document" a procedural correction? I'm not sure?? Thanks..
3 Answers from Attorneys
A party aggrieved by a recorded instrument that contains an error may maintain an action for reformation. It depends on the underlying facts of the case.
To an attorney, "reformation of the document" suggests a type of civil lawsuit in which the plaintiff asks the court to "reform" a contract or other written instrument to correct an error or errors, or an omission or omissions, therein, in order to reflect the true intention of the parties. So, I think it is accurate to say that "reformation of the document" is a procedure by which corrections can be made in court. For an extensive yet readily understandable discussion of reformation, see Chapter 2 ("Reformation") of California Real Property Remedies and Damages (Continuing Education of the Bar), a well-recognized treatise covering California real estate law for California lawyers, and available to the public at county law libraries (there's at least one in every county).
People make mistakes. This is the primary cause for errors in title.
Usually you would start with a corrective deed, which can be recorded if all the parties or their documented successors are available. This is far simpler and less expensive than going to court. This assumes, however, that everyone agrees it was an error and simply requireds correcton. If this is not possible, you may have to consider a quiet title action or reformation. See a real estate attorney.
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