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Can a minor buy a house? What if I die without a will? Proper names on contracts

This blog post deals with 3 different things, minors holding title, dying without a will and proper names of parties on contracts.

Recently I had some questions from real estate agents about minors buying property. The legal age of majority in B.C. is 19. That means until they reach that age, they cannot enter into contracts. The exceptions are contracts for necessaries of life such as food, clothes, etc. Buying a house would not be considered a necessary if the person is under 19. The minor could not enter into the real estate contract and it would not be enforceable against him/her if there was a problem. And if there is a mortgage the bank will require the parents be on title or guarantee it. But all the people on title have to sign the mortgage and the Bank won’t be getting an enforceable mortgage against the minor if the minor accepts it.

The second item is the “myth” I have heard many times that if you die without a will, everything goes to the government. This is not true as the relevant legislation sets out who your beneficiaries are if you die without a will. It is only if the deceased had no relatives, even distant ones that the estate goes to the government. However it is better to have a will for other reasons as it is easier to administer the estate with one, plus if there are minor beneficiaries, the Public Guardian does not have to get involved.

The third item is names. Make sure that you have the person’s full proper name on the contract and not just an initial. In the case of a company ask to see the certificate of incorporation so you can put down the correct name of the company. I have a situation now where the company name was wrong, the deal didn’t close and the vendor is suing the shareholder personally because there is no actual company under the name the contract was signed.

David Simon