12.20 Minors

12.20.1

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, in Texas, the age of majority (when a person is no longer a minor) for contractual purposes has been changed by Sec. 101.003 Tex. Family Code to eighteen years for both sexes. Texas law also provides for the termination of minority upon marriage.

In general, minors possess the legal capacity to acquire ownership of real estate, and conveyances and encumbrances of real estate executed by minors are valid and subject only to disaffirmance within four years after the minor attains the age of majority.

Exceptions to the general rule are the following:

  • Judgment removing disabilities of a minor (Sec. 31.001, et seq. Family Code) must be 17 years or over 16 and living apart from parents.  See also 31.006 Family Code.
  • Family Code Sec. 2.101 granting majority upon the minor's marriage.

DO NOT INSURE A DEED EXECUTED BY A MINOR UNLESS FOUR YEARS HAVE PASSED SINCE THE MINOR REACHED 18 YEARS OR YOU OBTAIN A WRITTEN CONFIRMATION OF THE DEED.

 

12.20.2

Right of Disaffirmance

During minority, the minor has a right to disaffirm any contract he enters into.

Adults who enter into contracts, conveyances, encumbrances, etc., with minors cannot avoid their contractual duties on the grounds that the minors can do so.

Many jurisdictions do find circumstances, under which minors can be bound by contracts and other instrument when:

  • The age has been misrepresented. (Texas: Teat v. Jones 89 SW2d 987, S.Ct. 1936)
  • The minor has been engaged in business as an adult.
  • The consideration received is not being returned. (Texas: Bullock v. Sprowls, 54 SW 661, and Hughes v. Hughes 221 SW 970, 1920)

The Minors right to disaffirm is a contract curtailed if:

  • The minor's conveyance or encumbrance of real property has been made to a bona fide purchaser pursuant to a proper judicial order.
  • After reaching the age of majority, the former minor has ratified the conveyance of encumbrance of real property in writing.