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Emancipated Minor


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A minor cannot be involved in a real estate contract unless he or she is an emancipated minor, which confers him or her the right to be involved in the transfer or purchase of real estate. To become emancipated, a minor must get approval from the court, get married, participate in the armed forces or obtain another legal court approved reasoning.

Minors can receive property through an inheritance or be gifted real estate without a guardian or co-title holder. If the minor wants to sell or rent real estate or any other real estate real estate activity a guardian must accompany the minor in his or her decision-making process. A minor can, however, be involved in real estate transactions if he or she is personally emancipated.

A contract is only valid if all parties have the legal capacity to be in a contract.

For example, a minor cannot be involved in a real estate contract unless he or she is an emancipated minor, which confers him or her the right to be involved in the transfer or purchase of real estate.

Incompetent parties do not have the right to be apart of a contract.

Examples of legally incompetent parties include:


Mentally incapacitated

Under the influence

California law assumes that a minor does not have the legal capacity or experience to engage in real estate transactions. In the event that a minor does enter into such a contract, his or her minor status make it unenforceable.

The exception to this rule is an emancipated minor. An emancipated minor is an individual under the age of eighteen who is no longer a dependent of a parent or legal guardian, and thus, has the legal authority to make decisions for themselves.

Emancipated Minors Can Do the Following

An emancipated is treated the same as an adult by the law. Regardless of their age, emancipated minor means adult in the eyes of the law and how society is expected to treat them. Each state has specific laws however in general an emancipated minor can do the following:

Enter and execute contracts

Buy or rent real estate

Initiate a lawsuit

Be sued

Get a work permit

File taxes

Make decisions regarding that affect their health

While emancipated minors generally have the same rights as adults, they oftentimes do not have the following rights:

Quit school

Buy alcohol


Marry someone

How Emancipation Can Be Obtained

The process of becoming an emancipated minor varies by state law. The main ways to get emancipated are by joining the military, getting married, or going to court and getting permission through the law. Some state’s give minors the right to become emancipated through their written permission.

Joining the Military: Joining the military automatically gives the minor the right to become emancipated. The thought process of this is simple: if one can join the army and fight for the United State’s they are adults. The military however does not allow someone to enroll in thr army unless they are a minimum of 17 years old.

Marriage: Getting married is an automatic way to get emancipated in most states. Getting married however requires the minor to be signed off for the marriage by their parents. In most states one can get married by the age of 14-16 years of age.

Court Approval: Minors can petition the court to grant them emancipation. Getting approval for this requires the minor to show that it is in his/her best interest to get emancipated. Simply applying does not guarantee approval. There must be a specific reason why the minor wants to get emancipated such as needing to act on behalf of themselves after a parent dies, or when they live with no family. Further approval depends on if the minor is mature to make decisions on their own behalf, are financially independent, or has a degree, diploma, or GED.

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