12.20 Minors


In General

At common law, a minor was defined as a male who had not attained the age of twenty-one or a female who had not attained the age of eighteen. Today, for contractual purposes, the statutory age of majority is eighteen years for both sexes. In addition, some state statutes provide that marriage terminates minority. In some jurisdictions "minors" are referred to as "infants."

In general, minors possess the legal capacity to acquire ownership of real estate. Unless otherwise provided by statute, a minor's conveyances and encumbrances of real estate are valid; subject to disaffirmance after the minors attain the age of majority. Upon attaining the age of 18 years, the minor may disaffirm the real estate transaction for the period set by the applicable state statute of limitation.

Exceptions to the general rule are the following:

  • Statutory prohibitions of the minor's act.
  • Statutory emancipation of the minor.
  • Statutory provisions granting majority upon the minor's marriage.
  • Statutory provision for the benefit of minors who are U.S. military or service personnel.

Do not insure a deed executed by a minor unless the minor's right to disaffirm is properly excepted.


Right of Disaffirmance By A Minor

Subject to certain exceptions, a minor has the right to avoid or set aside contracts, conveyances, encumbrances, or other instruments affecting personal or real property and executed during the time of minority. The time, form, and manner of the act of disaffirmance are established by state law.

Disaffimance is the option of the Minor, and adults who enter into contracts, conveyances, encumbrances, etc., with minors cannot avoid their contractual duties, unless the minor opts out upon reaching majority.