alteration.  1.Property.  A  substantial  change  to  real  estate,  esp.  to  a  structure,  usu.  not

involving  an  addition  to  or  removal  of  the  exterior  dimensions of  a  building’s  structural parts. •

Although  any  addition  to  or  improvement  of  real  estate  is  by  its  very  nature  an  alteration,

real-estate lawyers habitually use alteration in reference to a lesser change. Still, to constitute an

alteration, the change must be substantial — not simply a trifling modification.

structural alteration.A significant change to a building or other structure, essentially creating

a different building or structure.

2.  An  act  done  to  an  instrument,  after  its  execution,  whereby  its  meaning  or  language  is

changed; esp., the changing of a term in a negotiable instrument without the consent of all parties

to  it.  •  Material  alterations  void  an  instrument,  but  immaterial  ones  do  not.  An  alteration  is

material if it (1) changes the burden of a party (as by changing the date, time,  place, amount, or

rate  of  interest),  (2) changes the  liabilities or  duties of  any  party  (as by  adding  or  removing  the

name  of  a  maker,  drawer,  indorser,  payee,  or  cosurety),  or  (3)  changes  the  operation  of  the

instrument or its effect in evidence (as by adding words or negotiability, changing the form of an

indorsement,  or  changing  the  liability  from  joint  to  several).  [Cases:  Alteration  of  Instruments

1–30.  C.J.S.  Alteration  of  Instruments  §§  2–99,  104–109.]“With  respect  to  written  instruments,

‘alteration’ generally means a change in an instrument’s sense of language caused by a party to the

instrument,  and  does  not  include  such  changes  by  non-parties  or  ‘strangers’  to  the  instrument.

Although  the  distinction  is  not  always  observed,  technically  an  alteration  by  a  non-party  or

stranger to the instrument is a ‘spoliation,’ not an alteration, which does not invalidate it or change

the rights or liabilities of the parties in interest, so long as the original writing remains legible.” 4

Am. Jur. 2d Alteration of Instruments § 1 (1995).

material alteration. 1. A significant change in something; esp., a change in a legal instrument

sufficient to alter the instrument’s legal  meaning  or effect. [Cases:  Alteration  of  Instruments    1.

C.J.S.  Alteration  of  Instruments  §§  2–4.]  2.  An  unauthorized  change  in  an  instrument  or  an

addition to an incomplete instrument resulting in the modification of a party’s obligations. UCC §

3-407(a).  [Cases:  Alteration  of  Instruments    1–30.  C.J.S.  Alte-ration  of  Instruments  §§  2–99,

104–109.] [Blacks Law 8th]