Error Correction in Business Documents

How to Correct Errors in Legal Documents
Cultura RM/redheadpictures/Getty Images

We've all been there. We read through an important document and discovered an error. And the error was significant. Mixing up the lessor (the building owner) and the lessee (the company leasing the space) in a lease document, for example, is a common error. Errors can happen in leases, employment agreements, real estate contracts, sales agreements, tax forms...any legal document.

You Found an Error in a Legal Document. Now What?

Standard procedure for correcting mistakes in important documents:

  • Line through the incorrect information (make sure the information can still be read).
  • Make the change.
  • Date and initial the change.
  • Have the other party date and initial the change also, so it's clear that the change has been acknowledged by both parties.

A good example of this is a question I received recently about correcting a mistake in a time sheet. The mistake should be lined out then the correct information inserted and the employee and the supervisor (or another company representative) should both initial/sign and date the change.

Another good example of how this works is in a business sale when the parties go back and forth and make changes, say to the inclusion of a particular asset or assets. All such changes must be lined out then signed and dated by both parties.

Do not use correction fluid or try to erase the mistake. If the document ever ended up in court, it might look like you were intentionally trying to hide something.

Hiding a change might cause you to be charged with fraud, so don't attempt it.