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Adding Minor Children to the Title of a Real Property



Children who are minors (under the age of 18 in most states) can legally co-own real estate with their parents. However, the decision can cause legal complications in the future.

Before parents or relatives add a child's name to a property title, the adults should talk to a real estate lawyer to understand the legal ramifications of the decision. For example, if the property is being transferred to a child in an effort to shield it from creditors, then the court can void the transfer and creditors can still seize the property.

Often parents or other relatives will add children to a property's title in an effort to make it easier for the child to inherit the property if the parents die. Unfortunately, this act can complicate things if the parents want to sell the property while the children are still young.

Selling Property While a Child Is Young

While it is legal for a child to own real estate, a child cannot convey (sell or transfer) real estate until he or she has reached the age of majority. If parents want to sell the real estate while the child is still a minor, the local court must appoint a legal guardian (also known as a guardian ad litem) to protect the child's interests.

The parents or child will have to pay for the cost of the guardian, as well as a real estate attorney to appear at court proceedings.

The guardian will review the situation to ensure the child is being treated fairly. This may include putting the child's share of the sale proceeds into a trust until the child reaches the age of majority.

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