You requested a legal opinion regarding the purchase of property by representative
payees on behalf of minor children. Below is Region II's response for the States of
New Jersey and New York, and the territories of Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands.
1. Does the State permit a minor to hold rifle to real or personal property?
There were no outright prohibitions on the ability of a minor to hold real or personal
property in his or her name. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 3B12-6, however, requires that money
or personal property not exceeding $5,000 be delivered to a minor's parent or guardian,
a married minor, or placed in a savings account in the minor's name. The age of minority
ends at 18. N.J. Star. Ann. § 9:17B-3 (West 1993).
Pursuant to common law, New Jersey case law holds that agreements with minors relating
to personal property or for sale, exchange or purchase of property or mortgages are
voidable. Comm'r of Internal Revenue, 108 F.2d 961 (3rd Cir. 1939) (involving transfer
of property); Carter v. Jays Motors, Inc., 65 A.2d 628 (1949) (involving the sale of an automobile).
2. Does the State place restrictions as to the age of the minor or the types of property
that can be held?
No statutory law restricts either the types of property that can be held, or the age
of the minor.
3. Are there any specific requirements to show how the property should or must be
titled to show the minor as owner?
No specific requirements were found.
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 of titling the property to reflect the minors interest in the property and
satisfy SSA regulatory requirements?