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A person who has reached the age of majority. This age is usually 18, but may be 17 in criminal cases or 21 in other cases. An adult is legally permitted to enter a contract, do business, or conduct any other activity without permission or countersignature by a parent or guardian
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One who has gained the age of majority, usually 18 or 21 depending on the state. Sometimes, younger people can take legal steps to remove the “disabilities of nonage,” after which they will be treated as legal adults even though under the requisite age. Only adults have the legal capacity to enter into contracts or sell property. Minors may own real estate, but, because of the inability to enter contracts, they cannot effectively manage it, obtain a mortgage, or sell the property. If such actions should prove necessary, the child's legal guardian will usually have to ask a court for permission for the proposed action.The court will then appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the child's interests, in case the guardian has a conflict of interest or clouded judgment.

The Complete Real Estate Encyclopedia by Denise L. Evans, JD & O. William Evans, JD. Copyright © 2007 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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