Is it every allow to alter a notorized document (quit claim deed) after it has…

Is it every allow to alter a notorized document (quit claim deed) after it has been notorized, no matter how minor the alter may be. but before it is recorded?

3 thoughts on “Is it every allow to alter a notorized document (quit claim deed) after it has…

  1. No. The notary is stating under penalty of perjury that she witnessed X sign the document. If the document is changed or a document not signed by X is submitted, then the notary can not state she saw X sign it.

    George Shers
    Law Offices of Georges H. Shers
    4170 Glenwood Terrace, Suite #1
    Union City, CA 94587

  2. Mr. Shers’ answer is correct, but I’m not sure it answers your question. You asked about post-notarization changes to the document. I think more explanation is required.

    First, I should point out that a deed, including a quitclaim deed, is effective to transfer ownership from the grantor to the grantee when it is signed by the grantor and delivered to the grantee or his agent. The deed has to be notarized before it can be recorded, and it has to be recorded before it is “notice to the world” and fully protects the grantee, BUT the unnotarized and unrecorded deed is still 100% good and fully effective between the parties and anyone else who has actual or constructive notice of it.

    Second, recording a forged or significantly altered instrument (deed, mortgage, etc.) is a felony, see Penal Code section 115, and the crime is committed by “knowingly” offering the document for recording…….there is no requirement of an intent to defraud. Nevertheless, a person probably wouldn’t be prosecuted under the statute if there were very little possibility for inaccuracy or confusion being introduced into the public records.

    It might be better to correct the deed, have it re-signed and re-notarized, then record it, if the correction is very minor. However, keep in mind that the first, incorrect, quitclaim deed has already done its work, just by being signed and delivered. The REALLY correct way to un-do the execution and delivery of a deed containing an error is to (1) reverse the original transaction by having the grantee quitclaim back to the grantor exactly as done in the deed containing the error; the (2) then do it right, with a perfect quitclaim from grantor to grantee.

    A reason for preferring the “really correct” way is that deeds do thir work upon delivery, tearing up a deed or otherwise detroying it does not un-do the transfer of the property even if the parties so intend, and therefore the only way to un-do an erroneous conveyance of land is to reverse the erroneous transaction, then do it right.

    Next to last, I’ll add that the terms “grantor” and “grantee” are used loosely in this answer. Technically, a quitclaum deed does not “grant” anything and the parties are not, therefore, a grantor and grantee. I use these words for convenience, because “quitclaimer” and “quitclaimee” sound awkward.

    Finally, I would say that if a deed with a minor correction got recorded, the existence of the error and the correction probably would not invalidate the “notice to the world” given thereby, and almost certainly does not invalidate the conveyance of the property as between the parties.

    Bryan Whipple
    Bryan R. R. Whipple, Attorney at Law
    P O Box 318
    Tomales, CA 94971-0318

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