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Contracts Signed by a Minor Are Not Legally Binding: What You Need to Know

A contract is a legally binding agreement between two or more parties. However, not all individuals can enter into contracts legally. One such group is minors. In most jurisdictions, contracts signed by a minor are not legally binding, and there are a few reasons why.

Who Is Considered a Minor?

Generally, a minor is anyone under the age of 18. However, some jurisdictions may have different age limits. For example, in some states in the US, the age of majority is 21. It is essential to know the age of majority in your jurisdiction before entering into any contract.

Why Can`t Minors Enter into Contracts?

Minors are considered to be incapable of making informed decisions, which is necessary for entering into a contract. Therefore, their contracts are not considered binding. The law recognizes that minors are still developing, and their decision-making skills are not yet fully developed. Therefore, they cannot be held accountable for their decisions the same way as adults.

What Happens if a Minor Signs a Contract?

If a minor signs a contract, the contract is considered voidable. This means that either party can choose to end the contract. The minor can choose to end the agreement at any time while they are still considered a minor, or they can wait until they reach the age of majority. Once they turn 18, they can either choose to enforce the contract or repudiate it.

For example, suppose a minor signs a contract to purchase a car. In that case, they can choose to keep the car and pay for it once they turn 18, or they can choose to return the car and end the contract.

Exceptions to the Rule

There are some exceptions to the rule that contracts signed by a minor are not legally binding. One such exception is when the contract is necessary for the minor`s support or education. For example, a minor can enter into a contract for life-saving medical treatment or for a college education.

Another exception is when the minor lies about their age to enter into a contract. In such cases, the law may hold the minor accountable for breaching the contract.

Bottom Line

Contracts signed by a minor are not legally binding in most jurisdictions. Therefore, it is essential to be aware of this before entering into any contract with a minor. If you are unsure, it is always best to speak to a lawyer who can advise you on the legalities of the situation.

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