Error in Legal Description Requires Re-Recording of Deed

Question: The plat map for our Apache Junction subdivision shows that our home is on Lot 6. In applying for a permit to build a swimming pool six years after we purchased our home, we learned that the legal description on our deed says that our home is on Lot 16. Our seller was an elderly widow, and we think that she recently passed away. Our real estate agent says “no worries,” about the Lot 16 mistake, and that all we have to do now is correct Lot 16 to Lot 6 on our deed, initial the correction, and record this corrective deed. Is our real estate agent right?

Answer: Probably not. A corrective deed is only for minor corrections, e.g., a simple misspelling of the seller’s name. A change in the legal description is a material correction which generally requires either a new deed, or a re-recording of the existing deed. This re-recording of the existing deed should include the correct legal description, the re-signing by the seller, and the re-notarization by a notary public. You should contact the Pinal County Recorder’s Office for a copy of their Guidelines for Re-Recording a Document.

Note: If the seller is unavailable, e.g., deceased, to sign a new deed or re-sign an existing deed, a judge in a declaratory judgment lawsuit could order the Clerk of the Court to sign a new deed.

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