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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.


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.


The Michigan Constitution of 1963 was enacted and curtesy ended. Until this month’s legislation, Michigan was the only state that still granted dower rights exclusively to women. Recent mentions of dower in the law. Many thought the concept of dower was on its way out of the law in recent months.


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.


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.


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.


Read the latest article on dower rights in Michigan - Update on the abolishment of dower in Michigan. On December 28, 2016, Michigan 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; that is, a wife’s interest in the real property of her deceased husband.


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.


At long last, the ancient legal concept of dower has been abolished in Michigan. As a direct result, Michigan real estate transfers just became less complicated thanks to the efforts of Senator Rick Jones, the sponsor of Senate Bills 0558, 0559, and 0560.This bill package, just signed into law by Governor Snyder yesterday, eliminates dower rights in Michigan, bringing us into the modern era of ...


Up until now, Michigan was the only state that provided dower rights only to women with no comparable right for men. The conflicts and inconsistencies for dower rights that were created by the mandated recognition of same sex marriage ultimately motivated the Michigan legislature to pass the package of bills to abolish dower rights.