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Age of majority

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In law, the age of majority is the age at which one acquires the full legal rights of an adult. This commonly includes things such as the right to vote and the ability to make contracts in which they are bound. The age is normally fixed by law, though in some cases a minor may reach majority through an emancipation procedure.

Historically many Commonwealth countries set the age of majority at 21, but most have since lowered it to 18. In Canada the age of majority is 19 in British Columbia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, and the Yukon. The rest of the provinces have set their age of majority at 18.

In Japan the age of majority is 20. In Sweden the age of majority is 18.

In the United States the age of majority is established by the individual states, except for the voting age, which is 18 everywhere as a result of a constitutional amendment. Historically the age of majority was set as 21 in most jurisdictions, consistent with English law, but it has been lowered in recent decades. Currently 18 is the age of majority for most purposes, except in Alabama and Nebraska where it is 19, but see Legal drinking age. In some states, 21 is the legal age of majority for certain limited purposes, such as receiving title to property transferred by gift, will, or trust.


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