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Can only living child dictate what can be done with Mother's estate?

Myrtle Beach, SC |

This is in NC. Husband's Mother passed 7 years ago and estate was not probated. He is the only living child left. We tried to get grandchildren to sign off on a Quit Claim Deed to sell the house but that was not successful. Can he allow a person to live in the home legally to protect it? No rent will be charged.

Attorney Answers 2


  1. If the son is not the court appointed legal representative and his name is not on the deed, he has no legal rights to the house. He has to go to probate to get ownership of the house and to legally control it. If the grandchildren are children of a brother or sister of his, they have rights, too. After seven years it would be a good idea to sit down with a probate lawyer and get some advice how to move forward.

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  2. I agree with Mr. Brophy. At this point, it is unclear who has legal rights in this property. I seem to recall that under NC law, the property is not considered part of an estate, and that is passes by operation of law to the beneficiaries. Even so, it would appear that that includes your husband's nieces and nephews. I would strongly suggest that your husband contact an NC probate attorney as soon as possible. These kinds of matters do not improve or get less complicated or costly, over time.

    You also have potential issues with insuring the home and paying taxes, etc. An attorney can help you clarify your rights and obligations.

    James Frederick

    ***Please be sure to mark if you find the answer "helpful" or a "best" answer. Thank you! I hope this helps. ***************************************** LEGAL DISCLAIMER I am licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and have offices in Wayne and Ingham Counties. My practice is focused in the areas of estate planning and probate administration. I am ethically required to state that the above answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. These responses should be considered general legal education and are intended to provide general information about the question asked. Frequently, the question does not include important facts that, if known, could significantly change the answer. Information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state. If I refer to your state's laws, you should not rely on what I say; I just did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant that I hoped you would find helpful. You should verify and confirm any information provided with an attorney licensed in your state. I hope you our answer helpful!

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