My 80 year old father has chosen to be estranged from his wife but has not requested separation papers nor has his spouse. His wife's name is on the deed, but my father pays the mortgage. They have been married for 30 years. If his wife should die, would he have legal right to the house instead of her son? Do community property laws in NC allow for my father to continue to live in the house despite his wife's son by a previous marriage having power of attorney for his mother, wishing for my father to vacate the house? As next of kin does my father have a right to stay in the house despite this?
1 Answer from Attorneys
In North Carolina, property bought by a married couple during marriage is held as Tenancy by the Entirety. If this is the case, your fathers wife may not sell or give away her interest in the property without the consent of your father. On the other hand, upon the death of his wife, his wife's interest in the property devolves to your father and not to her heirs.Generally to dissolve the tenancy by the entirety, the parties must obtain a divorce or agree to extinguish a tenancy by the entirety.