Common Mistakes When You Draft Your Own Deed

By Althaus Law
October 28, 2019

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We see it all the time, an improperly drafted deed which has disastrous results. A widow needs multiple probates in different states after her husband passes to get title properly in her own name. Expensive and timely correction deeds are required because we must dig back to the original deed to find the true legal description. Extra steps and re-execution of deeds because two people appeared on the original deed, and then only one of them transferred the property to the new property.

The short of it? It’s expensive. And time consuming. And it could have been easily avoided.

You do need an attorney experienced in title and drafting of deeds to help you.

Let’s start with how you can own property with more than one person. Joint tenancy: my husband and I own our home as joint tenants, if I pass away, my husband simply files my death certificate with our county clerk and recorders office and the home is now 100% his. Tenants in common: my husband and I own our home as tenants in common, if I pass away, my husband must open a probate. He must wait a minimum of six months (the minimum duration of a probate in Colorado), pay a lot of money to the court and likely to a probate attorney, and then he can own the property 100%.

Usually it is an error, an accident, a mistake, when a property is owned as tenants-in-common as opposed to joint tenants. More bad news, the default is tenants in common if it isn’t clear on the deed.

Next up, incorrect or incomplete legal descriptions. In title, the legal description is what matters, not necessarily the street address. Messing up the legal description can result in the property not being transferred. Letter for letter, comma for comma, word for word, the legal needs to match. I have had to look back several deeds to find the actual proper legal description which is time consuming and then do correction deeds before we can even do the transfer which is costly.

Other issues that pop up: cut and paste language, missing owners on a subsequent transfer, misspelling of grantor and grantee names, missing or wrong county information, and missing dates. These errors usually result in correction deeds, pulling deeds farther back in time, and an attorney coming in to fix it all. The end result? Extra cost to you.

Don’t make these mistakes. Call our Northglenn law firm instead!

If you need help with your plan, or just have questions about a deed, give our lawyers a call. You can also contact us online.

Categories:  Probate