Bulletins

Important Updates to Utah Joint Tenancy

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Utah House Bill 276 - Code 57-1-5

Overview

On March 24, 2022, Utah’s Governor signed House Bill 276 into law. House Bill 276 revised a provision of Utah Code 57-1-5 relating to the presumption of tenancy by married persons.

On May 4, 2022, the revised provisions of House Bill 276 and Utah Code 57-1-5 took effect. Utah Code 57-1-5(1)(a)(i), as revised, now provides that:

  • (A) Beginning on May 5, 1997 AND ENDING ON MAY 3, 2022, an ownership interest in real estate granted to two persons in their own right who are designated as HUSBAND AND WIFE in the granting documents is presumed to be a joint tenancy interest with rights of survivorship, unless severed, converted, or expressly declared in the grant to be otherwise.
  • (B) BEGINNING ON MAY 4, 2022, an ownership interest in real estate granted to two persons in their own right who are designated as SPOUSES in the granting documents is presumed to be a joint tenancy interest with rights of survivorship, unless severed, converted, or expressly declared in the grant to be otherwise.

Specific Language

Starting May 4, 2022, the inclusion of the words “HUSBAND AND WIFE” alone, without additional language of import to the tenancy, is now presumed to create a TENANCY IN COMMON.

Pursuant to Utah Code 57-1-5(2)(a), it appears that by including additional language in the granting documents, such as:

  • “joint tenancy,”
  • “with rights of survivorship,” or
  • “and to the survivor of them”
  • and words of similar meaning -

will override this presumption when using the old language “HUSBAND AND WIFE” to create a JOINT TENANCY.

To avoid contrary intentions in granting documents, which ATGF agents prepare in connection with real estate transactions, IMMEDIATELY phase out the term, “HUSBAND AND WIFE” and adopt the use of “SPOUSES.” For clarity and to avoid errors, our agents should also SPECIFY the intent of the grantees with respect to tenancy in the granting documents and CONFIRM THAT INTENT WITH THE GRANTEES AT THE CLOSING, e.g.:

  • “a joint tenancy with rights of survivorship”
  • “a tenancy in common”

If you are a title agent in Utah, please distribute this Bulletin to your ENTIRE title and escrow staff, particularly those involved in contract data entry, commitment, policy and document preparation and closings. Should you have any questions, please contact our CEO, Rudy Krupka, at rkrupka@atgf.net.

About Attorneys Title Guaranty Fund, Inc.
Founded in 1960, ATGF provides best in class title insurance underwriting and services for more than 60 years. The company's mission is helping agents succeed through trusted products and services, innovative technology and amazing support. The company currently pursues this mission by underwriting, training and supporting agents in Colorado, Utah, Minnesota, North Dakota, Nevada, and Arizona.  ATGF has maintained a strong Financial Stability Rating(r) (FSR) of A, Exceptional, from the independent rating agency, Demotech, Inc.
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