Every conveyance that is affecting, purporting to affect, describing, or otherwise concerns any right, title, or interest in real property in Utah should be in writing, signed and acknowledged by the grantor, and recorded in the county where the real property is located. "Real property" or "real estate" is defined in the Utah Statutes as any right, title, estate, or interest in land, including all non-extracted minerals located on, in, or under the land, all buildings, fixtures, and improvements on the land, and all water rights, rights of way, easements, rents, issues, profits, income, tenements, possessory rights and claims, including mining claims, privileges, and appurtenances belonging to, used, or enjoyed with the land or any part of it. Warranty deeds, special warranty deeds, and quitclaim deeds are commonly utilized documents of conveyance in Utah. The type of deed used in any given transaction depends on the ownership interest being transferred.
Real estate can be both conveyed and acquired by individuals, corporations, and entities with the legal capacity to convey and acquire real estate. Joint tenancy can be established between two or more people, but it cannot be established between a person and an entity or organization (57-1-5). A person claiming title to real estate in Utah, even though there may be adverse possession of the land, can sell and convey their interest in it in the same manner and with like effect as if they were in actual possession of the real estate (57-1-11).
Real estate deeds must be signed and acknowledged by the grantor in order to be presented for recording. A certificate of acknowledgment of a document, or the proof of execution, or a jurat, or other notarial certificate containing the words "subscribed and sworn," that is signed and certified by the officer taking the acknowledgment, proof, or jurat will entitle a document to be recorded in the office of the county recorder in the county where the property is located (57-3-101). A jurat is a notarial act in which a notary certifies that a signer, whose identity is personally known to the notary or proven on the basis of satisfactory evidence, has made a voluntary signature and taken an oath of affirmation vouching for the truthfulness of the signed document in the notary's presence (46-1-2). Documents must also identify the grantor and grantee, contain a granting clause, contain a legal description of the real property, and must meet any formatting requirements as set forth in the Utah Statutes.
In Utah, a Water Rights Addenda needs to be included with applicable deeds submitted for recordation in order to clarify the water rights conveyed by a real estate transaction. An "applicable deed," according to the Utah Statutes, is one that has been executed after July 1, 2011, is conveying fee simple title to land, or conveying title to water rights without conveying title to land. The Water Rights Addenda should describe and identify the water rights, if any, transferred under an applicable deed or should state that no water rights are being transferred (57-3-109).
The Recording Act in Utah is a race-notice statute. This type of statute gives priority to the party that records a document first, but only if the party did not have notice of prior unrecorded claims on the same property. The act of recording a document in Utah imparts notice to all persons of the contents. A document that is not recorded is void against a subsequent purchaser of the same real property, or a portion of it, if the subsequent purchaser purchased the property in good faith and for a valuable consideration, and the subsequent purchaser's document is first duly recorded (57-3-103).
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