A scrivener’s affidavit is a form used to correct minor errors in a legal document that was previously executed. Some of the errors that the scrivener affidavit is used to correct include a typographical error, misspelling of a name, or incorrect strikeover of a word. It often cannot be used to make substantial changes, such as the term of a contract or the amount of compensation. In those cases, parties must sign an amendment or a new document to fix the error. Like other affidavits, it has to be sworn under oath or witnessed and signed by a notary public in most jurisdictions.
A scrivener is a clerk or copyist who is hired to write or prepare written instruments, and a scrivener’s error is a term that refers to the errors made when preparing those documents. The errors are often made by mistake or inadvertence, and they are minor and unintentional. A scrivener’s affidavit, sometimes referred to as an affidavit of correction or affidavit of error, is used to correct those errors. The alternative would be to re-execute the document, which is often not possible once it has been recorded. The affidavit is often recorded with the document it corrects in order to put the public on notice of the error and the correction.
Some errors in legal documents are initially missed by the parties at the time of signing or preparation. When they discover those errors at a later date, it’s easy to fix them with a scrivener’s affidavit. The alternative would be to alter the original documents, which might be burdensome to one or both parties. For example, in real estate transactions in which the paperwork is lengthy, it would cost less and be easier to manage if one of the parties were to execute a scrivener’s affidavit to correct a misspelling or omission of an initial on a deed. The main piece of criteria for using the affidavit is that the error does not try to make a material change to the document it seeks to correct, because it often is inadequate to meet the statutory requirements for executing the original document.
Regions often have a scrivener’s affidavit form for a recorded document that leaves blanks for the affiant to fill out. The forms are often included in the applicable statute or given by the government representative who is the custodian of those records. Individuals can also find templates of affidavits for documents that are not recorded in various legal software packages or free on the Internet.