In all cases where there is a vested interest in real estate, and a contingent remainder over to persons who are not in being, or when the contingency has not yet happened which will determine who the remaindermen are, there may be a sale, lease or mortgage of the property by a special proceeding in the superior court, which proceeding shall be conducted in the manner pointed out in this section. Said proceeding may be commenced by summons by any person having a vested interest in the land, and all persons in esse who are interested in said land shall be made parties defendant and served with summons in the way and manner now provided by law for the service of summons in other special proceedings, as provided by Rule 4 of the Rules of Civil Procedure, and service of summons upon nonresidents, or persons whose names and residences are unknown, shall be by publication as now required by law or such service in lieu of publication as now provided by law. In cases where the remainder will or may go to minors, or persons under other disabilities, or to persons not in being, or whose names and residences are not known, or who may in any contingency become interested in said land, but because of such contingency cannot be ascertained, the clerk of the superior court shall, after due inquiry of persons who are in no way interested in or connected with such proceeding, designate and appoint some discreet person as guardian ad litem, to represent such remainderman, upon whom summons shall be served as provided by law for other guardians ad litem, and it shall be the duty of such guardian ad litem to defend such actions, and when counsel is needed to represent him, to make this known to the clerk, who shall by an order give instructions as to the employment of counsel and the payment of fees.
The court shall, if the interest of all parties require or would be materially enhanced by it, order a sale of such property or any part thereof for reinvestment, either in purchasing or in improving real estate, less expense allowed by the court for the proceeding and sale, and such newly acquired or improved real estate shall be held upon the same contingencies and in like manner as was the property ordered to be sold. The court may authorize the loaning of such money subject to its approval until such time when it can be reinvested in real estate. And after the sale of such property in all proceedings hereunder, where there is a life estate, in lieu of said interest or investment of proceeds to which the life tenant would be entitled to, or to the use of, the court may in its discretion order the value of said life tenant's share during the probable life of such life tenant, to be ascertained as now provided by law, and paid out of the proceeds of such sale absolutely, and the remainder of such proceeds be reinvested as herein provided. Any person or persons owning a life estate in lands which are unproductive and from which the income is insufficient to pay the taxes on and reasonable upkeep of said lands shall be entitled to maintain an action, without the joinder of any of the remaindermen or reversioners as parties plaintiff, for the sale of said property for the purpose of obtaining funds for improving other nonproductive and unimproved real estate so as to make the same profit-bearing, all to be done under order of the court, or reinvestment of the funds under the provisions of this section, but in every such action when the rights of minors or other persons not sui juris are involved, a competent and disinterested attorney shall be appointed by the court to file answer and represent their interests. The provisions of the preceding sentence, being remedial, shall apply to cases where any title in such lands shall have been acquired before, as well as after, its passage - March 7, 1927.
The clerk of the superior court is authorized to make all orders for the sale, lease or mortgage of property under this section, and for the reinvestment or securing and handling of the proceeds of such sales, but no sale under this section shall be held or mortgage given until the same has been approved by the resident judge of the district, or the judge holding the courts of the district at the time said order of sale is made. The approval by the resident judge of the district may be made by him either during a session of court or at chambers. All orders of approval under said statute by judges resident in the district heretofore made either during a session of court or at chambers are hereby ratified and validated.
The court may authorize the temporary reinvestment, pending final investment in real estate, of funds derived from such sale in any direct obligation of the United States of America or any indirect obligation guaranteed both as to principal and interest or bonds of the State of North Carolina issued since the year 1972; but in the event of such reinvestment, the commissioners, trustees or other officers appointed by the court to hold such funds shall hold the bonds in their possession and shall pay to the life tenant and owner of the vested interest in the lands sold only the interest accruing on the bonds, and the principal of the bonds shall be held subject to final reinvestment and to such expense only as is provided in this section. Temporary reinvestments, as aforesaid, in any direct obligation of the United States of America or any indirect obligation guaranteed both as to principal and interest or State bonds heretofore made with the approval of the court of all or a part of the funds derived from such sales are ratified and declared valid.
The court shall, if the interest of the parties require it and would be materially enhanced by it, order such property mortgaged for such term and on such condition as to the court seems proper and to the best interest of the interested parties. The proceeds derived from the mortgage shall be used for the purpose of adding improvements to the property or to remove existing liens on the property as the court may direct, but for no other purpose. The mortgagees shall not be held responsible for determining the validity of the liens, debts and expenses where the court directs such liens, debts and expenses to be paid. In all cases of mortgages under this section the court shall authorize and direct the guardian representing the interest of minors and the guardian ad litem representing the interest of those persons unknown or not in being to join in the mortgage for the purpose of conveying the interest of such person or persons. In all cases of mortgages under this section the owner of the vested interest or his or her legal representative shall within six months from the date of the mortgage file with the court an itemized statement showing how the money derived from the said mortgage has been expended, and shall exhibit to the court receipts for said money. Said report shall be audited in the same manner as provided for the auditing of guardian's accounts. The owner of the vested interest or his or her legal representative shall collect the rents and income from the property mortgaged and apply the proceeds first to taxes and discharge of interest on the mortgage and the annual curtailment as provided thereby, or if said person uses or occupies said premises he or she shall pay the said taxes, interest and curtailments and said party shall enter into a bond to be approved by the court for the faithful performance of the duties hereby imposed, and such person shall annually file with the court a report and receipts showing that taxes, interest and the curtailment as provided by the mortgage have been paid.
The mortgagee shall not be held responsible for the application of the funds secured or derived from the mortgage. The word "mortgage" whenever used herein shall be construed to include deeds in trust. (1903, c. 99; 1905, c. 548; Rev., s. 1590; 1907, cc. 956, 980; 1919, c. 17; C.S., s. 1744; Ex. Sess. 1921, c. 88; 1923, c. 69; 1925, c. 281; 1927, cc. 124, 186; 1933, c. 123; 1935, c. 299; 1941, c. 328; 1943, cc. 198, 729; 1947, c. 377; 1951, c. 96; 1967, c. 954, s. 3; 1971, c. 528, s. 39.)