Michigan Abolished Dower Rights

Thursday, April 6th, 2017

Until now, Michigan was the only state in the country that still recognized dower rights.  Dower rights are the traditional rights a married woman has to elect upon her husband’s death, giving her a claim to one-third interest in any real estate titled in her late husband’s name.  That all changed as of April 6, 2017.  Public Act 489 of 2016 eliminates Michigan’s prior statutory and common law dower rights.  A wife is no longer required to sign any deed, mortgage, grant of easement or other documentation (in which her husband transfers or encumbers an interest in his real estate) to satisfy the release of her dower rights. The exception is for dower rights elected by a woman whose husband died before the law’s effective date.

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