If you file for bankruptcy in Utah, the Utah homestead exemption protects some equity in your home. Read on to learn the amount you can protect, what property the homestead exemption applies to, and more.
For information about how the homestead exemption works in both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy, see The Homestead Exemption in Bankruptcy. For more articles on exemptions, see our Bankruptcy Exemptions area.
The Utah Homestead Exemption Amount
Under the Utah exemption system, homeowners may exempt up to $20,000 of their home or other property covered by the homestead exemption.
You may use the homestead exemption to protect more than one parcel of land, but you may protect up to one acre only.
Doubling for Married Couples
If you file a joint bankruptcy with your spouse in Utah, you can double the homestead exemption to protect up to $40,000 in your home.
Learn more about joint bankruptcy in Nolo's section on Bankruptcy Options for Married Couples.
The Scope of the Utah Homestead Exemption
In Utah, the homestead exemption applies to real property, including your home or mobile home. You may also protect water rights that you own, if the water is used for domestic or irrigation purposes.
In order to use the $20,000 exemption to protect your home, it must be your primary personal residence. Utah law permits you to protect property that is not your primary personal residence, but if you don’t live in the property, the exemption amount is limited to $5,000.
The homestead exemption also applies to sale proceeds for up to one year after the property is sold.
Can You Use the Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions in Utah?
Some states allow bankruptcy filers to use the federal bankruptcy exemptions instead of the state exemptions. Utah is not one of those states. If you reside in Utah, you must use the state exemptions.
(To learn more about which state exemptions apply to you, see Which Exemptions Can You Use in Bankruptcy?)
In Utah, you must file a homestead declaration (a form filed with the county recorder’s office to put on record your right to a homestead exemption) in order to claim the homestead exemption. Contact your county recorder for information on how to file a homestead declaration. Refer to the Utah Code Section 78B-5-504 for the information you are required to include in your homestead declaration.
Other Information About the Utah Homestead Exemption
In Utah, you cannot use the homestead exemption to protect your property from debts due to property taxes or assessments, purchase (such as a mortgage), child support, or liens that you allowed against your property by mutual contract.
Finding the Utah Homestead Exemption Statute
Utah’s homestead exemption is found in the Utah Code at Utah Code Section 78B-5-503. To learn how to find state statutes, check out Nolo’s Laws and Legal Research area.
You can find the section of the Utah Code that contains the homestead exemption on the Utah State Legislature’s website at www.le.utah.gov.