The Right Of Dower
Dower is one-third of the husband's estate, and in general cannot be
destroyed by the mere act of the husband. Hence, in the sale of real
estate by the husband, his wife must, with the husband, sign the
conveyance to make the title complete to the purchaser. In the absence
of such signature, the widow can claim full dower rights after the
husband's death. Creditors, also, seize the property subject to such
The husband in his will sometimes gives his wife property in lieu of
dowry. In this case, she may, after his death, elect to take either such
property or her dower; but she cannot take both. While the husband lives
the wife's right of dower in only inchoate; it cannot be enforced.
Should he sell the land to a stranger, she has no right of action or
remedy until his death.
In all cases the law of the State in which the land is situated governs
it, and, as in the case of heirship, full information must be sought for
in statute which is applicable.