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41 N.C. L. Rev. 67 (1962-1963)
Tenancy by the Entirety in North Carolina

handle is hein.journals/nclr41 and id is 85 raw text is: TENANCY BY THE ENTIRETY IN NORTH
CAROLINA*
ROBERT E. LEEf
NATURE OF TENANCY BY THE ENTIRETY
Where real property is conveyed by deed or by will to two persons
who are at the time husband and wife, a tenancy by the entirety is
created. Sometimes it is referred to as an estate by the entirety.
The husband and wife take the whole estate as one person. Each has
the whole; neither has a separate estate or interest; but the survivor,
whether husband or wife, is entitled to the entire estate, and the
right of the survivor cannot be defeated by the other's conveyance
of the property by deed or will to a stranger. The title to the land
cannot be conveyed during the existence of the marriage without
the signature of both the husband and the wife. Neither tenant can
defeat or in any way affect the right of survivorship of the other.
Each spouse is considered as the owner of the entire estate because
of the common law fiction of the unity of husband and wife-a unity
of the person.'
Davis v. Bass,2 decided in 1924, is the magna charta on the estate
by the entirety in North Carolina. In an excellent opinion, Chief
Justice Stacy described this anomalous estate and concisely stated its
incidents. Quoting from the opinion of Chief Justice Stacy, the
Supreme Court of North Carolina in 1955, in describing this estate,
said:
* This article is adapted from a chapter of the author's forthcoming trea-
tise on North Carolina Family Law, to be published in the spring of 1963 by
Michie Co.
t Professor of Law, Wake Forest College.
'Lanier v. Dawes, 255 N.C. 458, 121 S.E.2d 857 (1961); Edwards v.
Arnold, 250 N.C. 500, 109 S.E.2d 205 (1959); Woolard v. Smith, 244 N.C.
489, 94 S.E.2d 466 (1956); Nesbitt v. Fairview Farms, Inc., 239 N.C. 481,
80 S.E.2d 472 (1954) ; First Nat'l Bank v. Hall, 201 N.C. 787, 161 S.E. 484
(1931); Davis v. Bass, 188 N.C. 200, 124 S.E. 566 (1924); Freeman v. Bel-
fer, 173 N.C. 581, 92 S.E. 486 (1917); Motley v. Whitemore, 19 N.C. 537
(1837). For a general discussion of tenanciks by the entirety, see 26 Am.
Jur, Husband and Wife §§ 66-86 (1940); 2 AMERICAN LAW OF PROPERTY
§§ 6.5-6.6 (1952) ; 41 C.J.S., Husband atfd Wife §§ 33, 34 (1944) ; MADDEN,
PERSONS AND DOmESTIc RELATIONS § 45 (1931) ; 4 POWELL, REAL PROPERTY
§§ 615-19 (1954) ; 2 THrOMPSPN, REAL PROPERTY §§ 1784-792 (repl. 1961);
Phipps, Tenancies by Entireties, 25 TEMPLE L.Q. 24 (1951); Annot., 141
A.L.R. 179 (1942).
'Supra, note 1.

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