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Up until recently, one of the options a surviving widow could choose as an elective share was to exercise her dower rights. As of April 1, 2017, however, dower rights are being abolished. Dower rights have been recognized for many decades under common law, and were included in Article X of the Michigan Constitution of 1963.


Michigan was the last state to have dower rights for women, but not their husbands. Learn how and why Michigan dower rights were abolished as of 2017.


As a result of such dower rights, a wife has been required to sign any deed, mortgage or other document to transfer an interest in her husband's property to another, which would release her dower rights and give the transferee good title to the property. The Michigan legislature recently voted to abolish dower rights in Public Act 489 of 2016.


Michigan Law has been brought into modern times through the abolishment of dower rights. Prior to this change in Law, Michigan was the only state which preserved dower for the benefit of women only. Briefly stated, dower was a specific distribution that a widow could elect as her share of her deceased spouse’s estate. After April 7, 2017 a widow will no longer have the option to elect the ...


February 1, 2017. Michigan had been the only remaining state in the country to recognize dower rights in a wife, but not reciprocal rights in her husband. At long last, on January 6, 2017, Governor Rick Snyder signed into law SB 558 and SB 560 abolishing these rights, which will become effective as of April 6, 2017.


Effective April 6, 2017, dower rights in Michigan are abolished. Dower is a centuries old legal principle that a wife has an interest in a portion of all real property owned by her husband during their marriage. The common law principal of dower was codified in MCL 558.1, et. seq.


AMD: 03/2017 ELIMINATION OF DOWER IN MICHIGAN FOR USE IN MICHIGAN ONLY On January 6, 2017, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed into law a package of bills eliminating statutory and common law dower rights. The law takes effect on April 7, 2017, with an exception made for dower rights


Dower rights are claimed after a husband dies. The widow is entitled to a portion of the property assets for the rest of her life. Dower rights in Michigan only apply to property that is purchased during the marriage, and they are only awarded to the wife, not the husband. Dower laws often come into play after a husband dies.


Effective April 7, 2017 Dower Rights will no longer effect real estate in Michigan. What is a Dower Right? Dower rights have historically allowed a widow to use her deceased husband’s real property during her lifetime. The justification for these dower rights dates back to when a woman was unable to own property.


On December 28, 2016, Governor Rick Snyder signed into law Public Act 378 of 2016 (the “Act”), which abolishes all statutory or common law rights of dower in Michigan, except in the case of a widow whose husband dies before the Act’s effective date.