- The interest given to a wife by state law in the property of her husband upon his death.
- It is a Life Estate that in 1/2 of all lands owned by the husband at the time during the continuance of marriage.
- It is an Inchoate dower interest because during his life the wife's rights consist only of a possibility that she will receive anything upon his death.
- It becomes Consummate upon death.
- Dower is subject to liens and encumbrances to which the land was subject at the time of the marriage.
- Any real property transferred during the husband's lifetime without the wife's signature will be transferred with a cloud on the title.
- Dower & Curtesy was ended on May 28th, 1980.
Right of Possession
- Dower and Courtesy were eliminated on May 29, 1980.
- Right of Possession Act: Each spouse has the right of joint possession during marriage with the other spouse of the property occupied as their principal matrimonial residence.
- The right can only be released with proper consent.
- Death terminates marriage.
- Only a final judgment of divorce will terminate this marital right.
- 1/2 life estate given to a widowed husband.
Elective Share Law
- Law introduced the concept of the augmented estate.
- Augmented Estate: surviving spouse can take 1/3 unless the the assets of the surviving spouse exceed this 1/3 amount.
- If the husband did not provide for his wife in his will.
Laws of Descent
- If there is no wil, property will pass to the descendent's heirs.
- Heirs may encumber or convey legal title immediately but their title is not leagally marketable since all property will be subject to temporary possession of an executor.
- However, a beneficiary holding title as tenancy by the entirety or joint tenant woud immediately have marketable title.
- The legal process of determining that validity of a will, paying off the debts of the estate and determining who gets the remainder of the estate.
- A testamentary gift of real estate or personal property,
- The transfer of property and possession of lands from one person to another.