Divorce and Life Estates


A widow has a life estate with her son and daughter-in-law as the remainderman (I think that is the right term). The widow is now in a healthcare facility and the daughter-in-law (I will refer to as “wife”) has sued the son for divorce. It is unclear to us who has what rights over the home. Currently the son has moved into the basement (has separate entrance but same address).

First question: I have power of attorney for the widow. The wife has refused entry to the house, unless by court order. My first request to enter the house was not worth battling over but now the widow wants me to remove some of her belongings. Does the wife have a right to refuse entry? If we have right of entry can you point us to what NC law would make this clear.

Second question: The wife has informed me that her lawyer is petitioning the court to force the husband out of the house. Being that the house in a life estate of the mother, can the wife do this? Does the widow/mother have the right to block the eviction of her son? The widow does not wish to evict the wife due to her six grandkids living with the wife.

Third question: The widow wants me to act as landlord of the house. The house has an upstairs apartment (with inside and outside entrances and separate address) that is being rented out. The wife has changed all the locks on the main floor. Does the widow or I as POA have the right to a key to house?

Thanks for any help you can give! [:)]

Lloyd G…