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February 18, 2019

Minor


Word of the day

Minor

A person under the legal age of majority; a legal infant who is not a completely competent legal party. The legal age of majority is set by state law and may vary depending on the purpose of the law, such as the legal age to drive, drink, or enter into contracts. Most contracts, except those for necessities such as food and clothing, entered into by a minor are generally voidable at his or her option. However, if the minor does not disaffirm the contract within a reasonable time after attaining majority, then the contract becomes fully enforceable against him or her. For example, if a minor lists property with a broker, the broker could not collect an earned commission if when the broker finds a ready, willing, and able buyer the minor decides to repudiate the listing contract. In any event, a minor could not sell the property without court approval, because such a person has neither the legal capacity to transfer title to property nor the power to make a valid will.

Even if the minor misrepresents his or her age, the minor can still disaffirm the contract, although misrepresentation may lead to an action in damages for fraud.

A deed by a minor is voidable, although a minor may be a grantee and may receive realty by gift or inheritance. A minor is generally deemed incapable of appointing an agent to sell his or her property; thus any power of attorney executed is void.

If land owned by a minor must be sold for the minor’s maintenance or for investment, court proceedings to appoint a guardian must be instituted, in which case the minor becomes a ward of the court. The court can grant the guardian a special license to sell the property if the guardian posts a bond (the guardian does not need a real estate license).

Generally, title by adverse possession cannot be established against a minor unless the adverse possession continues for the prescription period after the minor reaches majority.

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