Michigan Abolishes Dower Rights

Michigan Abolishes Dower Rights

Prior to this year if a single man owned real estate in Michigan prior to his marriage his now wife was required to sign the deed on the sale of that real estate. On January 6, 2017 Michigan passed Public Act 490 of 2016 which eliminated dower rights in Michigan. The full legislation signed by the governor were Public Acts 378, 489, and 490 of 2016 which will be effective on April 7, 2017. Married persons of any sex will now be able to sell real estate without their spouse signing the deed to waive dower rights if the real estate is only in one name.

 In summary, the 3 bills contain the following:

-Senate Bill 558 (Sen. Jones) – Abolishes a wife’s dower right in both statute and at common law and repeals sections of the Revised Judicature Act that pertain to dower rights.

-House Bill 5520 (Rep. Kesto) – Deletes a provision that judgments of divorce and separate maintenance include a provision in lieu of dower.

-Senate Bill 0560 (Sen. Jones) – Applies the right of dower only to a surviving widow whose spouse died before the effective date of Senate Bill 558.