PR 07215.050 Vermont
A. PR 00-031 Purchase of Property by Representative Payees on Behalf of Minor Children
DATE: February 18, 1999
In Region I (Boston), the States of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont all allow a minor to hold title to both real and personal property.
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.