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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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.
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