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April 7, 2017 – Goodbye, Dower!

The elimination of dower rights in Michigan is right around the corner.  In short, dower is a widow’s share for life of her husband’s estate.  After April 7, 2017 a widow will no longer have the option to elect the dower share.  The elimination of this option for a widow means that the wife need not join in the conveyance of property owned by her spouse alone.

The dissolution of dower is not effective until April 7, 2017, thus a female spouse must still join in the execution of conveyance prior to April 7, 2017. Additionally, Homestead rights in Michigan have not changed with the elimination of dower. Homestead rights benefit men and woman equally –  a spouse is required to join in the execution of certain mortgages. Most important to note then, where a spouse is no longer required to execute a mortgage with regards to dower, the spouse may still be required to execute a mortgage because of homestead rights.