How to sign a legal document for a minor
If you’re unsure how to sign a legal document for a minor, you’re not alone.
Children and teenagers have to be better protected by the law than adults.
So you can’t use the same process you would for someone over the age of 18. Also, while minors can sign contracts, these won’t always be legally binding.
So, essentially if you’re asking, “How do I sign a legal document for a minor?” the answer is you may not have to.
Minors are able to sign contracts for themselves in most cases. In other situations, parents or guardians can sign for them or cosign with them, which does make them legally binding.
In this article, we’ll further explain these nuances, what age you have to be to sign a contract, and how to sign contracts on behalf of a minor and still ensure the document’s legality.
Can a minor sign a contract?
A young person might need to sign a contract for many reasons.
Whether starting a part-time job or enrolling in college, it’s not uncommon for minors to be presented with legal documents.
But can minors sign contracts? The short answer is “yes”— there’s nothing stopping a person under the age of 18 from signing one.
This means employers can use these to outline responsibilities and payment terms to young workers, for instance.
However, the legal enforceability of such contracts is more complex.
Although they’re widely used for young people, you need to be careful not to consider contracts for minors the same as contracts for adults.
Is a contract signed by a minor legally binding?
If you’re asking, “Are contracts signed by minors legally binding?”, you’ll have to consider the specific details of the legal agreement.
Although most contracts aren’t legally binding if signed by a child or teenager, there are exceptions. These typically deal with contracts for necessities, such as shelter, education, and transportation.
In these cases, once a minor has signed a contract — for instance, signing up for a college course when they’re 17 — that contract is understood to be legally valid.
However, legal agreements that don’t fall into this category can often be voided.
This ability to terminate a contract ensures older people can’t take advantage of a minor’s lack of legal understanding.
This essentially means only the adult party has to comply with the terms until the minor reaches the age of majority.
To determine whether a contract signed by a minor is legally binding, you’ll need to check the regulations in your state.
In New York, for example, employment contracts can only be voided by a minor in specific circumstances, even though this isn’t considered a contract for necessities.
Can a parent sign a contract for a minor?
If a contract signed by a minor cannot be legally binding, you might want to consider getting a parent to sign the contract on behalf of their child.
Parents — or anyone else considered the minor’s legal guardian — can usually co-sign contracts alongside them.
This means the protections that place limitations on the legal validity of contracts signed by young people are removed.
If a parent chooses to sign a contract for a minor, doing so will effectively mean the contract is the same as one signed by an adult.
It will be legally binding and cannot be voided by the child or teenager.
How to sign for a minor or child
Choosing to sign a contract for a minor isn’t a decision a parent should rush into.
Luckily, good contract management software can help you make them aware of exactly what they’re signing their child up for.
The first thing a parent should do when signing a contract on behalf of a minor is check the laws and regulations in their local area or state.
This is why legal professionals need to know about signing contracts for minors — because parents will often come to you for specialist advice.
When a parent signs a contract for their child, the minor must also be a cosignatory, so you should make them aware that their child may have to present official ID to verify their identity.
Young people won’t always have this easily to hand, so they or their guardians might have to apply for a passport or driving license for them in advance.
You should use your position as a legal expert to ensure both the parent and minor fully understand the contract.
As it’s the young person who will be legally bound by it, you must make sure they understand the implications of the legal agreement.
Quickly, easily, and securely sign all legal documents
Signing legal agreements when minors are involved can be a complex and challenging task.
Although some contracts signed by young people are legally binding, this isn’t always the case, so it may be necessary for a parent or legal guardian to act as a cosignatory.
Using tools such as PandaDoc can be invaluable in helping you efficiently manage the process of producing, storing, and signing these legal documents.
With features such as electronic signatures, parents can easily sign a contract on behalf of their child from anywhere in the world.
If you’re a lawyer considering how to sign a legal document for a minor, use PandaDoc’s range of document templates to allow you to focus on your legal work rather than unproductive admin instead.
Start producing and signing contracts today with the help of PandaDoc.