By: David Wilson
According to our state legislators, in order to be considered an adult in the state of Kentucky, one must be 18 years of age. Therefore, under this statutory provision, persons 18 years or older are competent to enter into binding contracts. But what ability does a person under the age of 18 have to enter into a binding contract?
Ordinarily, a contract executed by a minor is enforceable by the minor but may be voided or set aside at the minor’s election. If the minor elects to affirm the contract upon obtaining the age of 18, then the contract is enforceable. In other words, the minor holds all the cards. He or she can elect to have the contract enforceable and also has the right to have the contract voided.
The privilege bestowed on a minor to set aside a contract made under the age of 18 is given for policy reasons. People under the age of 18 are essentially deemed to be disabled and are presumed to be insufficiently mature or experienced to effectively bargain with those who have obtained legal age. Any transaction that might result in a minor sustaining a financial loss is scrutinized with care.
One exception to the general rule is that a person under the age of 18 has the capacity to contract for the value of necessities. Necessities have been held to encompass food, clothing, shelter, medical attention, and even farm equipment and educational needs.
Ultimately, individuals wishing to enter into a binding and enforceable contract with a person under the age of 18 should be very cautious. There exists a distinct possibility that the contract is unenforceable. If you have any questions about entering a contract with a minor, the team at Skeeters, Bennett, Wilson & Humphrey suggest you contact an attorney for help.
David Wilson has practiced with Skeeters, Bennett, Wilson, & Humphrey since 1989, successfully litigating cases before the Kentucky Supreme Court, the Kentucky Court of Appeals, the Federal Court for the Western District of Kentucky and the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. He has substantial litigation experience in personal injury, domestic relations and creditor’s rights. This includes litigation in Bankruptcy Court as well as foreclosure actions. David also practices education law and is local counsel for both the Hardin County and the Meade County Boards of Education. He also acts as counsel for Hardin County Water District No. 1, Meade County Water District, Fort Knox Federal Credit Union and Kentucky Land Company.
David is a native of Meade County. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from the University of Kentucky and his Juris Doctorate from the University of Kentucky College of Law.