Thomas J. Scribner
Deed Drafting Errors
(Please understand that the answers to these questions are general in nature and may not cover every individual situation.)
Having worked in real estate for 30 years, I have learned a few suggestions to help a new lawyer or mentee from getting their deeds returned from the county due to errors. These suggestions are only some of the basic, common mistakes made, and should be reviewed as such. One thing is for sure: deeds look deceptively easy to draft but are full of specific details that must be met to be valid.
1) The easiest way to get your deed sent back to you is if the Grantor is not spelled exactly the same as it was when he or she was the Grantee. In other words, you need to start by looking at the deed which granted the interest in the property to the party that is now giving it away (not the tax notice). The spelling must be identical.
2) Make sure there is a 2″ top margin, for recording stamps.
3) all parties to a deed need to have a street address, so the county can contact them (not just “Provo, Utah”).
4) If the deed giving the property to the grantee is a Warranty Deed (WD), pass it on as a WD, as there is probably title insurance on the property and by using a Quit-Claim Deed (QCD) those warranties are cut off. If it came as a QCD, pass it on that way.
5) Always put in the actual amount paid or, if you want to keep that amount private, use “$10.00” for the deed, as all deeds require consideration. 6) Check the details: You are probably using an old deed as a template, so check everything. Is the following tract of land listed in the right county (the deed will need to be recorded at that county recorder’s office, not necessarily the closest one). Likewise, use language like this at the end of the legal description for clarity “according to the official plat thereof on file in the office of the Recorder, _____ County, State of Utah.”
6) If you have typed the legal description onto the new deed, always have a second person read the original description to make sure you did not make any “Scrivener” errors.
Notaries: One of the most common mistakes is the Notary. Notaries are not one-size-fits-all. If the person signing for an LLC, he will not be signing personally but in his role as either a manager or a managing member who has authority to bind the company. The Notary needs to show authority to sign and explain who he is. Likewise, a corporation may use its president or another officer to sign; if he represents a trust, he is a trustee and signs in that capacity. A sole member LLC may still have a different Manager. Don’t try to cover your bases; figure out which one it is and put it down. Notaries are very important though generally overlooked. If legally challenged, the wrong notary can allow the deed to be challenged in court. Of course, if the signer is actually a person, the simple notary that is probably on your form will work.
So here are a few things to look for. If you make sure these items are correct, you will drastically reduce having your deeds kicked back from the County Recorder’s Office.