The age of majority (and the UTMA account distribution age) in every state

For UTMA accounts, many states set a different age of majority.

Elissa

Elissa Suh

Published December 13, 2019

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KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • The age of legal adulthood is called the age of majority

  • The age of majority in most states is 18 years old

  • In most states, the age of adulthood is defined separately for custodial accounts

  • With some exceptions, a minor can't receive the funds in an UTMA account unless she is at least 21 years old

The age of majority is when a child becomes an adult in the eyes of the law. When a person reaches the age of majority, they can gain major legal responsibilities, like the right to vote, join the military, or sign a contract.

The age of majority may sometimes grant other rights, like the ability to buy cigarettes, consent to medical treatment, or get insurance. Every state sets their own age of majority and the specific restrictions as to what the adult cannot do until they reach that age.

The age of majority is 18 in most places, except three states. Alabama and Nebraska set the age of majority to 19 and Mississippi sets it at 21.

Age of majority by state

See the chart below to compare the age of majority and UTMA account age of majority in every state. UTMA accounts are custodial accounts, meaning that a custodian manages the funds in them until the minor comes of age.

StateAge of majorityUTMA account age of majority
Alabama1921
Alaska1821
Arizona1821
Arkansas1821
California1818
Colorado1821
Connecticut1821
D.C.1821
Delaware1821
Florida1821 (up to 25 if the transferor chooses)
Georgia1821
Hawaii1821
Idaho1821
Illinois1821
Indiana1821
Iowa1821
Kansas1821
Kentucky1818
Louisiana1818
Maine1818 (up to 21 if the transferor chooses)
Maryland1821
Massachusetts1821
Michigan1818 (up to 21 if the transferor chooses)
Minnesota1821
Mississippi18 (21 for the purpose of their parent paying child support)21
Missouri1821
Montana1821
Nebraska1921
Nevada1818 to 25, depending on how the property was transferred
New Hampshire1821
New Jersey1821
New Mexico1821
New York1821
North Carolina1821
North Dakota1821
Ohio1821 (up to 25 if the transferor chooses)
Oklahoma1821
Oregon1821
Pennsylvania1821
Rhode Island1821
South Carolina*1821
South Dakota1818
Tennessee1821 (up to 25 if the transferor chooses)
Texas1821
Utah1821
Vermont1821
Virginia1821 (up to 25 if the transferor chooses)
Washington1821 (up to 25 if the transferor chooses)
West Virginia1821
Wisconsin1821
Wyoming1821

As of December 2019, South Carolina still uses the Uniform Gifts to Minors Act (UGMA) to govern its custodial account laws. Although similar, UGMA contains several differences from UTMA.

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Exceptions to UTMA account age

Typically, custodial property may be transferred to a person who is 18 years old, but who has not reached her state’s UTMA account age, if one of the following conditions are met:

  • The transferor holds a debt to the minor.
  • If no custodian is named or if the named custodian is dead by the time the custodial property is to be transferred, as long as the property is worth less than $10,000.
  • The property is meant to be transferred during probate, but there is no will or if there is a will, but the will doesn’t authorize the transfer, and the property is worth less than $10,000 and the transfer is in the best interests of the minor.

If the minor has not reached age 18 for the above conditions, then the property will be transferred to a custodial account, but the minor will be able to access the funds when she reaches age 18 instead of the custodial account age.

(If you want to leave your belongings to someone who has not reached the age of majority, you may need a will. Download the new app from Policygenius and start your estate plan today.)

Note that these exceptions vary from state to state, so check your state’s laws if you believe you’re owed money.

What the age of majority is not

Not all rights and responsibilities are granted when a child reaches the age of adulthood. Here are some important things to remember:

  • The age of majority is not the same as the legal drinking age, which is 21.
  • The age of majority is not when health insurance coverage under a parent ends, which is 26.
  • The age of majority is not the same as the age of emancipation, or when a young adult (usually 16 years old) can petition the courts to grant them the same rights as the legal adult.
  • The age of majority does not necessarily dictate the end of certain parental responsibilities, like child support.

UTMA account age of majority

In general, minors, or people who are under the age of the majority, are not legally allowed to own property. If you are a parent who wants to transfer property to your young child, you can open a type of custodial account called an UTMA account. The assets in the UTMA account will transfer to the minor beneficiary when they become an adult.

Sometimes the age of adulthood is defined differently for this type of property. In fact, more than half of states set the age of majority for UTMA higher than their standard age of adulthood — 21 instead of 18. Additionally, some states may allow you to further delay the age to 25 years old. You might keep this in mind when creating an estate plan.

If you wish to distribute your property with a trust, note that you can set the age of distribution for a trust to any age. You can also specify that the trust assets must be distributed when other preconditions are met. If the trust assets are distributed before the minor is allowed to receive them, then they will go into a custodial account.

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About the author

Personal Finance Editor

Elissa Suh

Personal Finance Editor

Elissa is a personal finance editor at Policygenius in New York City. She writes about estate planning, mortgages, and occasionally health insurance. In the past she has written about film and music.

Policygenius’ editorial content is not written by an insurance agent. It’s intended for informational purposes and should not be considered legal or financial advice. Consult a professional to learn what financial products are right for you.

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