2020 Georgia Code
Title 44 - Property
Chapter 5 - Acquisition and Loss of Property
Article 2 - Conveyances
§ 44-5-41. Voidance and Ratification of Conveyance to or by a Minor

Universal Citation: GA Code § 44-5-41 (2020)

A deed, security deed, bill of sale to secure debt, or any other conveyance of property or interest in property to or by a minor is voidable unless such minor has become emancipated by operation of law or pursuant to Article 10 of Chapter 11 of Title 15. If a minor has conveyed property or an interest in property, the minor may void the conveyance upon arrival at the age of 18; and, if the minor makes another conveyance at that time, it will void the first conveyance without reentry or repossession. If property or an interest in property has been conveyed to a minor and, after arrival at the age of 18, the minor retains the possession or benefit of the property or interest in property, the minor shall have thereby ratified or affirmed the conveyance.

(Orig. Code 1863, § 2653; Code 1868, § 2652; Code 1873, § 2694; Code 1882, § 2694; Civil Code 1895, § 3604; Civil Code 1910, § 4184; Code 1933, § 29-106; Ga. L. 1966, p. 291, § 2; Ga. L. 1969, p. 640, § 2; Ga. L. 1972, p. 193, § 3; Ga. L. 2006, p. 141, § 7/HB 847; Ga. L. 2013, p. 294, § 4-49/HB 242.)

The 2013 amendment, effective January 1, 2014, substituted "Article 10" for "Article 6" near the end of the first sentence. See Editor's notes for applicability.

Cross references.

- Capacity of minors to enter into contracts, § 13-3-20 et seq.

Law reviews.

- For article recommending more consistency in age requirements of laws pertaining to the welfare of minors, see 6 Ga. St. B.J. 189 (1969). For article on 2006 amendment of this Code section, see 23 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 79 (2006). For comment on Ware v. Mobley, 190 Ga. 249, 9 S.E.2d 67 (1940), see 3 Ga. B.J. 65 (1940).

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Effect of use of "void" in this section.

- Prior law was unaffected by fact that 1933 codifiers used word "voidable" instead of "void." Ware v. Mobley, 190 Ga. 249, 9 S.E.2d 67 (1940) commented on in 3 Ga. B.J. 65 (1940).

Provisions on voidance of contract and deed construed in pari materia.

- Former Code 1933, § 20-201 (see O.C.G.A. § 13-3-20), which declared that generally the contract of an infant was voidable, and former Code 1933, § 29-106 (see O.C.G.A. § 44-5-41), which contained the declaration that the deed of an infant was voidable at the infant's pleasure on majority, should be construed in pari materia. Ware v. Mobley, 190 Ga. 249, 9 S.E.2d 67 (1940) commented on in 3 Ga. B.J. 65 (1940).

Right of disaffirmance applies to executed as well as to executory contracts. Gonackey v. General Accident, Fire & Life Assurance Corp., 6 Ga. App. 381, 65 S.E. 53 (1909).

Deed of an infant is voidable upon infant's disaffirmance during minority or within a reasonable time after attaining majority. Merritt v. Jowers, 184 Ga. 762, 193 S.E. 238 (1937).

Infant may act against immediate grantee and subsequent purchaser.

- One who, while an infant, executes a deed to real property may in a proper case, upon reaching majority, disapprove the act, not only as against the immediate grantee, but also as against a subsequent bona fide purchaser. Ware v. Mobley, 190 Ga. 249, 9 S.E.2d 67 (1940) commented on in 3 Ga. B.J. 65 (1940).

Infant's duty to disaffirm is not dependent upon other party's doing anything under the deed. Bentley v. Greer, 100 Ga. 35, 27 S.E. 974 (1896).

"Reasonable time" to disaffirm depends on facts of case.

- Infant may disaffirm the deed within a reasonable time after attaining majority, and if the infant fails to do so, the right of avoidance on the ground of infancy will be lost. What is a "reasonable time" will depend upon the facts of each case, but will not be longer than seven years after the disability is removed. Nathans v. Arkwright, 66 Ga. 179 (1880); McGarrity v. Cook, 154 Ga. 311, 114 S.E. 213 (1922).

"Reasonable time" is jury question.

- What is a reasonable time within which to disaffirm a deed made during minority after attainment of majority is a question for the jury upon the facts of each particular case, but will not be longer than seven years after the attainment of majority. Merritt v. Jowers, 184 Ga. 762, 193 S.E. 238 (1937).

Surrender of consideration required.

- No attempted repudiation under deed can be effective unless accompanied by surrender of consideration acquired by the minor thereunder as may still remain in the minor's hands. Merritt v. Jowers, 184 Ga. 762, 193 S.E. 238 (1937).

Grantor's statement that deed would stand upon receipt of consideration amounts to ratification.

- Statement by grantor, after reaching majority, that if the promised consideration which the grantor never received was paid the grantor would let the deed stand amounted to ratification, in the absence of proof that the consideration was paid. Ware v. Mobley, 190 Ga. 249, 9 S.E.2d 67 (1940) commented on in 3 Ga. B.J. 65 (1940).

After affirmance, an infant will be estopped from avoiding a deed on the ground of infancy at the date of the deed's execution. McGarrity v. Cook, 154 Ga. 311, 114 S.E. 213 (1922).

Estoppel by conduct or admission imputable to infant reaching age of discretion.

- Waivers or estoppels are not ordinarily imputable against infants, but an estoppel by conduct or admission can be imputed to an infant who has reached an age of discretion when fraud can be imputed against the infant. Nichols v. English, 223 Ga. 227, 154 S.E.2d 239 (1967).

Cited in Beckworth v. Beckworth, 255 Ga. 241, 336 S.E.2d 782 (1985); Harris v. Burrell, 159 Bankr. 365 (Bankr. M.D. Ga. 1993).

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