Legal Question in Real Estate Law in California

Error in the Deed (how to correct?)

Hi, father and daughter record a deed and in the deed their home was held as community property between them instead other ownership. (they wrote the deed document themselves and properly recorded) (an obvious mistake). No one konws until the father passed away. The daugher wants to correct the mistake in the deed. (instead the community property ownership, should be join tenant) What to do? Thanks

Asked on 4/08/05, 5:49 pm

5 Answers from Attorneys

Ken Koenen Koenen & Tokunaga, P.C.

Re: Error in the Deed (how to correct?)

This will not be easy to handle. Community property is only for husband and wife, which obviously is not the case here. The presumption, therefore, would be that they are tenants in common (not joint tenants). That could require that father's portion go through probate.

There could be other alternatives, but they will take the cooperation of the recorders office or a court order.

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Answered on 4/08/05, 6:44 pm

Daniel Harrison Berger Harrison, APC

Re: Error in the Deed (how to correct?)

The deed in community property is obviously ineffective. Title is presumeable held as tenants in common. She can try to argue that it was their intention to hold the property as joint tenants. What proof does she have of this other than the fact they are both on the deed? Was the daughter an owner of the property prior to the community property deed? If not, an argument can be made that the intention of adding the daughter on title was to provide for the right of survivorship upon the father's death. This would only make sense.

Let us know if you need help on this.

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Answered on 4/19/05, 11:10 am
Bryan Whipple Bryan R. R. Whipple, Attorney at Law

Re: Error in the Deed (how to correct?)

Correcting this mistake will almost certainly require a court order, and obtaining that order will require filing a relatively simple action (lawsuit) in court in the county where the property is located. The suit will probably ask the court to "reform" (i.e., rewrite) the deed, but might also (or alternatively) seek to remove a cloud on title or quiet title. The suit would name as defendants any individuals who might be obvious claimants, and also "all ersons claiming an interest" even if their names are unknown.

Filing, serving and winning such a suit should be relatively cheap, fast and uncomplicated, as lawsuits go, unless there is someone out there that really has cause to dispute your desired outcome.

You should use a real-estate attorney who practices in the county where the house is located.

I doubt that the recorder's office has any authority to correct deed errors made by the parties submitting the deed and not made in the recording process itself. It takes an order signed by a judge, and getting the order requires filing and winning a lawsuit in which daughter is the plaintiff and anyone else, known by name or not, who might have an adverse interest or claim, is a defendant.

A lis pendens should be filed, served and recorded right after the lawsuit is filed.

This process will take months and cost a few thousand (more if contested), but it's worth it if the home has any value at all.

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Answered on 4/09/05, 2:54 am
Michael Olden Law Offices of Michael A. Olden

Re: Error in the Deed (how to correct?)

hire a probate attorney do start a probate, refrom the deed to correct it and have his half go to you as long as no one else is related who has any right to his half, not sufficient info in your question. I have been practicing law in the San Francisco Bay area for approximately 35 years and expert in the area in the category in which your question is placed. I feel I can help you in this matter and if you wish to consult with me please contact me at 925-945- 6000.

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Answered on 4/09/05, 7:39 pm
Christopher M. Brainard, Esq. C. M. Brainard & Associates - (310) 266-4115

Re: Error in the Deed (how to correct?)

I have solution, I will charge you modestly for it. You contact me.

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Answered on 4/08/05, 6:14 pm

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