You requested a legal opinion from each Regional Chief Counsel addressing specific
issues raised by the Associate Commissioner of the Office of Program Benefits (OPB)
related to the purchase of property by minors and by representative payees on behalf
of minors. Below is Region VII's response to the specific issues raised. In response
to the April 21, 1999 video conference call, we have revised our January 12, 1999
legal opinion to remove any reference to the Uniform Transfers to Minors Act.
1.Does the State permit a minor to hold title to real property or personal property
such as an automobile?
Yes. Mo. Ann. Stat. § 442.080 (West 1997) states that:
All deeds, mortgages, deeds of trust and other instruments affecting title to real
estate hereafter executed by any person under the age of eighteen shall be binding
upon such person under the age of eighteen unless he shall file a deed or other instrument
duly acknowledged in the office of the recorder of deeds where the land is situate,
disaffirming the same, within two years after the disability of the minority is removed.
Further, Mo. Ann. Stat. § 442.060 (West 1997) provides various methods of ratification
by a minor after attaining the age of 18. Case law in Missouri also states that a
minor may acquire and own property in his or her name alone, and his or her parent
may not sell the minor's interest in property except as provided by law. Kubatzky v. Ramada Inns, Inc., 632 S.W. 2d 73, 75 (Mo. 1982); Nilges v. Nilges, 610 S.W. 2d 58 (Mo. 1980).
2. If so, are there any property restrictions as to age of the minor or the types
of property that can be held.
No restrictions as to age or property type were found. The types of property at issue
in Kubatzky and Nilges included shares of stock in a closely held corporation, horses,
and a motorcycle. In Gross v. Gross, 625 S.W. 2d 655 (Mo. 1981) the property at issue was the corpus of a trust.
3. Are there any specific requirements on how the property should or must be held
to show the minor as the titleholder?
Again, no specific requirements were found. As indicated above, the minor may hold
property in his or her own name.
4. If a State does not permit a minor to hold title to property or does not permit
the property to be titled or registered in the minor's name, what is the preferred
method(s) of titling the property to reflect or protect the minor's interest in the
property and satisfy SSA's regulatory requirements.