Minnesota Minors | Property Rights of Children and Teens

The following laws apply to minors in Minnesota. The following information and education, but is not legal advice. When faced with a legal issues, you should talk with an attorney.

Control of a Minor’s Earnings or Property Minor’s Contracts

A parent or guardian may claim a minor’s wages by notifying the minor’s employer. Otherwise, the minor has control of his or her own wages. Minn. Stat. § 181.01

A minor may control his or her own savings account. Minn. Stat. § 48.30

Minor’s Contracts

A minor may make a contract but may choose not to complete it or disaffirm it within a reasonable time after reaching the age of majority, unless it involves the purchase of necessities, like food or shelter. Miller v. Smith, 2 N.W. 942 (Minn. 1879); Kelly, Jr. v. Furlong 261 N.W. 460 (1935). In most cases, any benefits or value received through a contract must be restored to the other party before the minor is released from the obligations of the contract.


A minor may not make a will. Minn. Stat. § 524.2-501

Inheritance from Parents

If there is no will, an adopted individual has a legal right to a share of the adopted parents’ estate but not to the birth parents’ estate, unless the individual was adopted by a stepparent. Special provisions exist to determine inheritance where a child is conceived by means of assisted reproduction. Minn. Stat. §§ 524.2- 118; 524.2-119; 524.2-120

If a person does not make a will, his or her children share the estate with the surviving spouse, if that spouse was married to the children’s other parent. If no spouse survives, the children share the estate among themselves. Minn. Stat. §§ 524.2-102; 524.2-103

If parents were not married to each other and did not leave wills, the children inherit from either parent. Parentage may be established under the Parentage Act. Minn. Stat. §§ 524.2-116; 524.2- 117

A parent who makes a will may intentionally disinherit a child. If it seems a child was omitted from a will by error or because of being born after the parent’s death, the child may still be entitled to an inheritance as provided in this statute. Minn. Stat. §§ 524.2-108; 524.2- 302

Uniform Transfers to Minors Act

Any kind of property (money, real estate, stocks, etc.) may be transferred to a custodian for a minor’s benefit. This kind of custodianship lasts until the beneficiary turns 21 (or 18, in some cases). Minn. Stat. §§ 527.21 to 527.44

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The content of this and any related posts has been adopted or copied from the Minnesota House of Representatives Research Department’s December 2010 publication, Youth and the Law – A Guide for Legislators, written as a collaborative effort by the Research Department’s legislative analysts.

Leave a Public Comment

  • Wendy Hauer
    May 7, 2014, 5:12 pm

    I am a 48 year old Mom who has a family friend who adopted 4 boys and the oldest boy is reaching out to me for help. His adopted Mom is emotionally and verbally abusing him to the point he wants to end his life. I have called his high school and cps in Ramsey county and nothing has changed except that his Mom smashes his cell phone that he purchased with his own money with a hammer and screamed at him that he is a no good sob. He will be 17 in July and our family is willing to take him and then get him to school until school is out. Can he file emancipation papers for free without having a lawyer? Because his Mom doesn’t let him leave the house to even look for a job because she makes him clean her house 3 times a day on a school day and 5 times a day in weekends and summer. We really need to help him get away from this abusive Mother. Thank you.

  • Morgan Hastings
    February 27, 2013, 5:51 pm

    I am 17 years old living in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota with 4 months away of turning 18. I have financially supported myself since I have been 15, excluding rent and food. I have a savings account that I cannot deposit or withdraw from it without my parents consent. In the past, my parents have taken money out of my savings account for their personal needs without my consent, and recently took out around 300 dollars for tires on “my” car. My first question is do I have any rights to protect my hard earned money from their personal needs and wants? My second question is there any way to protect my car that I have entirely paid for, and paid all of the repair expenses for. I am afraid they will not grant me the title when I turn 18, even though it should be rightfully mine. Thank you for your time.