The Associate Commissioner for the Office of Program Benefits has requested our opinion
on whether or not minors may hold title to real or personal property. Specifically
she has requested whether there are any restrictions regarding the age of the minor,
the type of property that may be held, the specific method of titling the property,
and, in that case where a minor may not hold property in his own name, the preferred
method for titling property to reflect the minor's interest. For the reasons discussed
below, it is our opinion that Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode
Island and Vermont all allow a minor to hold title to both real and personal property.
The law in Vermont is clear that a minor may hold title to both real and personal
property. Unlike the other states this Office surveyed, Vermont has retained the Uniform
Gift to Minor's Act which specifically states that a gift made in conformity with
the law "coveys to the minor indefeasibly vested legal title to the security, life
insurance policy, annuity contract or money given. . . ." Id. at § 3203. Likewise, under the Uniform Veterans' Guardianship Act, the probate court
may authorize the guardian of a minor veteran to purchase real property for the ward
and "[t]itle shall be taken in the ward's name." Id. at § 3115. The statutes further advise that when "a minor is the owner of real or
personal property" or when minor has interest in an estate, as heir, devisee or legatee,
a guardian is to be appointed by the court. Id. at §§ 2645, 2647. However, while a guardian "is entrusted with the possession and
management of his ward's property he does not take title to it." Richardson v. Passumpsic Savings Bank, 13 A.2d 184, 185 (Vt. 1940).
There does not appear to be any restrictions on the age in which title vests in the
minor. Nor does there appear to be any specific requirements on how the property is
to be titled to show the minor as titleholder.
1/A guardian may sell a minor's personal property without a license from the court
in order to pay debts. M.G.L.A. 201 § 37.