Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 539
By: Thompson
Judicial Affairs


Under current law, a parent or guardian is required to seek court approval
when a minor is entering into certain contracts.  However, there are no
specific laws relating to the establishment of a contract for the services
of a child performer or to issues of liability accompanying that contract.
House Bill 539 establishes provisions to specifically address arts,
entertainment, advertisement, and sports contracts entered into by minors.


It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that this bill does
not expressly delegate any additional rulemaking authority to a state
officer, department, agency, or institution. 


House Bill 539 amends the Texas Probate Code to authorize a court, on
petition of the guardian of the estate of the minor, to enter an order
approving an arts and entertainment contract, advertisement contract, or
sports contract (contract) that is entered into by a minor.  The bill
authorizes the court to approve the contract only after the guardian of the
minor's estate provides to the other party to the contract notice of the
petition and an opportunity to request a hearing in the manner provided by
the court.  Each parent of the minor is a necessary party to such a
proceeding.  The bill authorizes the court to appoint a guardian ad litem
for a minor who has entered into a contract if the court finds that
appointment of the ad litem would be in the best interest of the minor.
House Bill 539 provides that the approval of a contract that is entered
into by a minor extends to the contract as a whole and any of the terms and
provisions of the contract, including any optional or conditional provision
in the contract relating to the extension or termination of its term.  The
bill  prohibits an otherwise valid contract that was approved by the court
from being voidable solely on the ground that it was entered into by a
person during the age of minority. 

House Bill 539 authorizes the court, notwithstanding any other law, to
require in an order approving a contract that a reasonable amount of the
net earnings of the minor under the contract, as determined by the court,
be set aside and preserved for the benefit of the minor in a management
trust or a similar trust created under the laws of another state.  The bill
authorizes a court to withhold approval of a contract under which part of
the minor's net earnings under the contract will be set aside in a trust
until the guardian of the minor's estate executes and files with the court
written consent to the making of the order.   

House Bill 539 prohibits these provisions from being construed to authorize
the making of a contract that binds a minor beyond the seventh anniversary
of the date of the contract.        


September 1, 2001.