South Dakota deeds must be created, signed, and recorded in compliance with the following legal standards adopted by the state legislature.
Formatting Requirements for South Dakota Deeds
South Dakota’s deed formatting standards are set by statute. The register of deeds may reject a deed that is not formatted according to the specifications below or that is not legible enough to allow production of readable copies.1
Paper, Page Size, and Ink
The paper on which South Dakota deeds are printed must be white and not less than 20-pound weight.2 A deed’s pages must measure at least 8½ × 11 inches (standard letter size) and not larger than 8½ × 14 inches (legal size).3 Nothing attached or affixed to a deed may obscure any information or printed material in the deed.
A deed’s font size must be no smaller than 10 points.4 The ink used for a deed must be black.5 Signatures, dates, acknowledgments, and similar items may be written in black or dark blue ink—provided the ink is dark enough to allow production of legible copies.
The top margin of a deed’s first page must measure at least 3 inches.6 The clerk adds the recording information in the top-right corner, and the “prepared by” statement is placed in the top-left corner. All other margins must be at least 1 inch.
A deed must have a title—such as Quitclaim Deed or Warranty Deed—immediately beneath the top margin of its first page.7
Information Requirements for South Dakota Deeds
South Dakota deeds must contain the details of the property transfer and the information required by law.
Parties’ Identifying Information
A South Dakota deed must identify the current property owner (the grantor) and the new owner (the grantee) by name.8 If the current owner’s name has changed since he or she acquired the property, the deed should identify the current owner as “formerly known as” or “also known as” (as appropriate) the name on the prior deed.9
A South Dakota deed should recite the parties’ marital status as of the date of the deed to avoid uncertainty in the property’s chain of title.12
A South Dakota deed may recite the property’s homestead status to avoid uncertainty in the property’s chain of title.14 A declaration that real estate is not a homestead avoids questions about the validity of a deed from a married owner if a non-owner spouse does not sign.15
A South Dakota deed must contain a granting clause—or vesting clause—stating that the deed transfers the real estate from the current owner to the new owner. South Dakota law suggests different granting clauses for different types of deeds.16 Each South Dakota deed type provides a different warranty of title.
Statement of Consideration
A deed should include a statement of consideration indicating that value was provided in exchange for the property.17 South Dakota deeds customarily include a statement of nominal consideration—such as “for ten dollars and other good and valuable consideration.”
Identification of Deed Preparer
A deed’s first page—in the top-left corner—must identify the person responsible for preparing the document. The statement must use the words “prepared by” followed by the preparer’s name, address, and telephone number.18
Transfer Tax Exemption
A deed that is exempt from South Dakota’s real property transfer fee must include on its first page the words “exempt from transfer fee” to claim the exemption. The deed must then identify the statutory subdivision of19 supporting the exemption.20 A list of exemptions is included below.
Sensitive Personal Information
A deed must not include any individual’s sensitive personal information—such as Social Security, bank account, or credit card numbers.21
Signing Requirements for South Dakota Deeds
A South Dakota deed must include the current owner’s original signature.22 The owner’s signature should be dated.23 A deed transferring real estate owned by two or more owners must include all co-owners’ signatures—unless only one owner is transferring an interest.24
Power of Attorney
An agent with written authorization to act for the current owner may sign a deed on the owner’s behalf.25 An agent signing under power of attorney signs the owner’s name and the agent’s own name as attorney in fact.26
Spouse’s Signature for Homestead
When an entity is transferring real estate, an individual with the power to act on behalf of the entity signs the deed for the entity. South Dakota law assumes that the below individuals have authority to act for the following entities:
- Trust. The trustee of a trust signs a deed transferring property owned by the trust.29
- Corporation. An officer of a corporation can sign a deed on the corporation’s behalf—provided the officer has authority under the corporation’s charter or articles of incorporation, its bylaws, or a resolution of its stockholders or board of directors.30
- LLC. A member or manager typically signs a deed for an LLC—depending on whether the company is member-managed or manager-managed.31
The current owner’s signature must be acknowledged before a notary or other authorized officer.32 South Dakota provides statutory form notary certificates for individuals, corporations, agents signing under power of attorney (attorney in fact), fiduciaries, and partnerships.33 A deed can alternatively be proved by a signing witness.34
The South Dakota Legislature has adopted the Uniform Real Property Electronic Recording Act.35 An electronic signature in a statutorily compliant form satisfies the requirement for the owner’s original signature.36
Recording Fees for South Dakota Deeds
South Dakota deeds must be recorded with the register of deeds of the county where the real estate is located.37 The recording fee payable to the register of deeds is $30.00 for deeds up to 50 pages. Deeds over 50 pages incur an additional fee of $2.00 per page for each page over 50.38
South Dakota Transfer Tax
South Dakota charges a transfer tax—called a real estate transfer fee—for transferring title to real estate.39 The tax rate is $0.50 for each $500.00—or fraction thereof—of the property’s value. The person transferring the property—the deed’s grantor—pays the transfer fee to the register of deeds at the time of recording.40
Real Estate Transfer Fee Exemptions
South Dakota exempts certain types of transfers from the real estate transfer fee.41 Deeds exempt from transfer fees include:
- Deeds transferring real estate between individuals as an absolute gift;42
- Deeds for which no consideration was given;43
- Deeds between spouses—or between parent and child—for only nominal actual consideration;44
- Deeds pursuant to a divorce decree or a settlement agreement adopted by a divorce decree;45
- Deeds from a trustee or other fiduciary to a beneficiary, or from a trustee or fiduciary to a third party if the transfer accommodates the fiduciary relationship;46
- Deeds transferring real estate from a deceased person’s estate pursuant to a distribution decree;47
- Deeds between an LLC and its members;48
- Deeds from one or more individuals to a corporation or partnership when the transferor is the corporation’s or partnership’s majority owner;49
- Deeds confirming or correcting a previously recorded deed;50
- Deeds to or from the US, the State of South Dakota, or any agency or subdivision of either;51
- Deeds arising from tax sales or foreclosures and deeds in lieu of foreclosure;52
- Deeds transferring partitioned property;53
- Deeds pursuant to a merger or consolidation of LLCs or corporations or pursuant to a reorganization transferring substantially all of the entity’s assets;54
- Deeds from a subsidiary to a parent corporation for no or nominal consideration or solely for cancellation or surrender of the subsidiary’s stock;55
- Deeds from an LLC or corporation to the entity’s owners or creditors when the transfer is necessary to the entity’s dissolution;56 and
- Deeds transferring cemetery lots or grave sites.57
Additional Forms Required with South Dakota Deeds
A South Dakota deed used in the purchase, exchange, transfer, or assignment of real estate must be accompanied by a certificate of value (Dept. of Revenue Form PT 56) when it is presented for recording.58
- S.D. Cod. Laws § 43-28-23(6).
- S.D. Cod. Laws § 43-28-23(3).
- S.D. Cod. Laws § 43-28-23(1).
- S.D. Cod. Laws § 43-28-23(1).
- S.D. Cod. Laws § 43-28-23(2).
- S.D. Cod. Laws § 43-28-23(4).
- S.D. Cod. Laws § 43-28-23(5).
- S.D. Cod. Laws § 7-9-7(1).
- 2002 SDTS § 43-30S-5-13.
- S.D. Cod. Laws § 7-9-7(1).
- S.D. Cod. Laws § 43-28-21.
- 2002 SDTS § 43-30S-5-01; 43-30S-5-02; 43-30S-5-03. S.D. Cod. Laws § 43-28-19.
- S.D. Cod. Laws § 7-9-7(1). See also S.D. Cod. Laws §§ 43-25-5; 43-25-7.
- 2002 SDTS § 43-30S-5-01.
- See 2002 SDTS § 43-30S-5-03.
- S.D. Cod. Laws §§ 43-25-5 (South Dakota warranty deed); 43-25-7 (South Dakota quitclaim deed).
- See, e.g., S.D. Cod. Laws §§ 43-25-5; 43-25-7.
- S.D. Cod. Laws § 7-9-1.
- S.D. Cod. Laws § 43-4-22
- S.D. Cod. Laws § 43-4-23.
- S.D. Cod. Laws § 43-28-25.
- S.D. Cod. Laws § 7-9-7.4.
- See S.D. Cod. Laws § 43-25-5.
- 2002 SDTS § 43-30S-4-10.
- S.D. Cod. Laws § 43-25-1.
- 2002 SDTS § 43-30S-5-18.
- S.D. Cod. Laws § 43-31-17.
- 2002 SDTS § 43-30S-5-07.
- S.D. Cod. Laws § 43-28-22.
- S.D. Cod. Laws § 43-25-20.
- 2002 SDTS § 43-30S-5-34.
- S.D. Cod. Laws § 43-28-8.
- See S.D. Cod. Laws §§ 18-5-8 – 18-5-12.
- S.D. Cod. Laws § 43-25-26.
- S.D. Cod. Laws §§ 7-9A-1, et seq.
- S.D. Cod. Laws § 7-9A-2.
- S.D. Cod. Laws § 43-28-1.
- S.D. Cod. Laws § 7-9-15(1).
- S.D. Cod. Laws § 43-4-21.
- S.D. Cod. Laws § 43-4-21; 43-4-24.
- S.D. Cod. Laws §§ 43-4-22(1 – 19).
- S.D. Cod. Laws § 43-4-22(16).
- S.D. Cod. Laws § 43-4-22(18).
- S.D. Cod. Laws § 43-4-22(5).
- S.D. Cod. Laws § 43-4-22(17).
- S.D. Cod. Laws § 43-4-22(15).
- S.D. Cod. Laws § 43-4-22(10).
- S.D. Cod. Laws § 43-4-22(19).
- S.D. Cod. Laws §§ 43-4-22(11) and (14).
- S.D. Cod. Laws § 43-4-22(4).
- S.D. Cod. Laws § 43-4-22(2).
- S.D. Cod. Laws § 43-4-22(6).
- S.D. Cod. Laws § 43-4-22(7).
- S.D. Cod. Laws § 43-4-22(8).
- S.D. Cod. Laws § 43-4-22(9).
- S.D. Cod. Laws § 43-4-22(12).
- S.D. Cod. Laws § 43-4-22(13).
- S.D. Cod. Laws § 7-9-7(4).
- S.D. Cod. Laws § 7-9-7(5).