Dower Rights...a female spouses automatic claim through marriage to property rights.

By
Managing Real Estate Broker with Flexit Realty "Flexible Home Selling Solutions"

Dower Rights,  would you like to give up your claim to Dower Rights?

 Some states like Michigan have Dower Rights others have Curtsy rights and some have both.

This week I had an agent make a unique request.  The agent wanted a release form for Dower Rights.  I who caressaid are you sure you want that form?  Why would a woman give up her legal claim as in half (50%) ownership in anything?

The siturelease of rightation is based, in this case, on emotional issues.  The home that is to be listed is was the ex-wife's along with her new husband.  The current wife wants nothing to do with anything the ex-wife was remotely involved with or tied too in any way shape or form.

My agent did a very good job explaining Dower Rights but it fell on deaf ears....the spouse wants off the contract and to have nothing to do with the property.  Now that creates two little problems.  Easy for me to say, little problems.

  1. There isn't a form for releasing your Dower Rights....well there wasn't, there is now.
  2. The legal issues of releasing your Dower Rights has to be weighted and the form has to protect the company, agent and the spouse that is releasing her rights.

Here is some of the issues that may not seem important at the time when emotions are taking over.  So it is up to the broker to make sure the form meets and exceeds the best interests of clients, agents and his/her company.

  • If you release your legal interest in the property and something happens to the husband you have no legal standing to the property.  You have released your rights.
  • Making the form situational so it only covers this specific transaction and reverts back to the releasing spouse should something happen.  (Which this spouse demanded be removed)
  • Making sure the releasing spouse knows she can consult an attorney before signing and having an area on the form which the spouse can waive this right.
  • Making sure the form is witnessed by someone other than the spouse for whom the release is made.
  • Making sure the form is signed and notarized in front of a notary.
  • Make sure to provide a space for the notary to imprint the notary seal.

Sincemotional issuese this was an emotional request, I wanted to cover all the bases including offering to meet to explain the rest of the issues of this decision. 

what do to and how to handle unusual issues comes with the task of running a brokerage.  The other side of this is making sure you offer as many options to clients so they make an informed decision.

Have you had any unusual requests?

 

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Michigan Realtors
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Show All Comments
Rainmaker
807,358
Anthony Stokes-Pereira
Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty - Nanuet, NY
Realtor

Hi Gary;

Great post and very informative, thank you for sharing.

Anthony

Aug 23, 2008 07:09 PM #1
Rainmaker
1,072,259
Gary White~Grand Rapids Home Selling Pro Call: 616-821-9375
Flexit Realty "Flexible Home Selling Solutions" - Grand Rapids, MI
Real Estate Services You can Trust!

Hi Anthony, it may is one of those odd requests that come up.  Thanks for the comments.

Aug 23, 2008 07:12 PM #2
Rainmaker
974,212
Sharon Alters
Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - Fleming Island, FL
Your Fleming Island Relocation Agents.

Sticky wicket indeed. You bring up some great points. Here in FL all property in a marriage is divided 50/50 so people execute QuitClaim Deeds, but what happens if the party dies during the sale? Great point. I'll remember that the next time it comes up. I'll be recommending they seek an attorney - which I would do anyway, but this emphasizes the need for legal counsel.

Aug 24, 2008 04:02 PM #3
Rainmaker
173,379
Richard Glesser
North Country Appraisal Services - Gaylord, MI

My wife has been quite elated in the situation in Michigan.  She's all for it - What he owns, she owns and what she owns, she owns.  If nothing else, it should keep the men on the straight and narrow.  Good information.

Aug 24, 2008 07:48 PM #4
Rainmaker
1,072,259
Gary White~Grand Rapids Home Selling Pro Call: 616-821-9375
Flexit Realty "Flexible Home Selling Solutions" - Grand Rapids, MI
Real Estate Services You can Trust!

Hi Sharon, you may want to make sure there is survivor rights in should something happens.  Nobody ever considers the accidental injury or death aspect when relinquishing their rights.  Thanks for the comments Sharon.

Aug 24, 2008 08:19 PM #5
Rainmaker
1,072,259
Gary White~Grand Rapids Home Selling Pro Call: 616-821-9375
Flexit Realty "Flexible Home Selling Solutions" - Grand Rapids, MI
Real Estate Services You can Trust!

Hi Richard, it does put a different light on the subject when you know what your is hers and what is hers is her own!  Thanks for the comments Richard.

Aug 24, 2008 08:21 PM #6
Rainmaker
294,842
Ray Saenz
United Property Brokers, Inc - Aurora, CO
Homes for Sale in Aurora, Colorado - Aurora, CO

Gary,
hey again, You are a machine to make blogs, you should bring me ideas to start working as a blogger total machine :). :)
ray saenz

 

Aug 25, 2008 12:31 AM #7
Rainmaker
621,956
Randy Prothero
Island Style Realty Inc. - Mililani, HI
Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645

Hawaii did away with both, but properties bought many years ago may still have them.

Aug 25, 2008 04:12 AM #8
Rainmaker
974,212
Sharon Alters
Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - Fleming Island, FL
Your Fleming Island Relocation Agents.

Gary, what are Curtsy Rights? In reading Randy's response it occurred to me that I don't understand what they are. Dower Rights I assumed are the same as in FL all marital property is owned 50/50 if it was purchased during the marriage. Property purchaased prior to the marriage remains in the name of the individual and the individual can do what they wish with it.

Aug 25, 2008 06:10 AM #9
Rainmaker
1,072,259
Gary White~Grand Rapids Home Selling Pro Call: 616-821-9375
Flexit Realty "Flexible Home Selling Solutions" - Grand Rapids, MI
Real Estate Services You can Trust!

Hey Ray, some days the machine goes on the fritz and has to read articles and newspapers to get subject matter.  For the most part it all happens because of the crazy things that happen running a brokerage.  Thanks for the comments Ray...glad to see you up and running again.

Aug 25, 2008 09:10 AM #10
Rainmaker
1,072,259
Gary White~Grand Rapids Home Selling Pro Call: 616-821-9375
Flexit Realty "Flexible Home Selling Solutions" - Grand Rapids, MI
Real Estate Services You can Trust!

Hi Randy, I think the issue is the land lease issues in Hawaii.  The dower rights have not been an issue in Michigan because we are used to dealing with them...but rarely does someone want to give them up!  Thanks for the comments Randy.

Aug 25, 2008 09:14 AM #11
Rainmaker
1,072,259
Gary White~Grand Rapids Home Selling Pro Call: 616-821-9375
Flexit Realty "Flexible Home Selling Solutions" - Grand Rapids, MI
Real Estate Services You can Trust!

Hi Sharon, this is the opposite of the Dower rights...for men it is Curtsy Rights when they get half of the woman's possessions upon marriage.  I can see most guys doing the "High Five" about now...but Florida does not have them and neither does Michigan.  In fact less than a handful of states have Curtsy Rights.  Thanks for the comments Sharon.

Aug 25, 2008 09:17 AM #12
Anonymous
Anonymous
John Shakarjian

Gary:  I was trying to figure out whether or not a spouse could waive her dower rights.  Your blog seems to be right on.  Would you be as so kind as to send me a copy of the waiver you used?  I need to modify it for my father in law.  JOHN 

Aug 23, 2009 01:40 PM #13
Rainmaker
1,072,259
Gary White~Grand Rapids Home Selling Pro Call: 616-821-9375
Flexit Realty "Flexible Home Selling Solutions" - Grand Rapids, MI
Real Estate Services You can Trust!

Hi John,

You have to make sure you are in a Dower Right state.  The release has to be notorized when it is signed.  Many banks will do this as a service.  I will be happy to send you the copy of the form I used.  Make sure you have it reviewed by an attorney, for legal purposes before you use it.  I am not an attorney and do not practice law...just great real estate services.  :-)  Thanks for the comments John.

Aug 23, 2009 02:14 PM #14
Anonymous
Anonymous
Tom Grace

Hi Gary,

Would you be willing to e-mail me a copy of your waiver form as well? My wife and I are separated and own 2 homes. We are on good terms, and do not plan on divorcing. She lives in 1, which I am willing to sign a Quit Claim on (both names are on the title and mortgage, but I am OK with remaining on the mortgage) and I live in the other which I just purchased in my name only on the title and mortgage, and she is willing to waive her dower rights and this form would solve our delimna.

Thanks,

Tom Grace 

Jan 04, 2010 11:28 PM #15
Anonymous
Anonymous
Jay Branchick

I feel like I am pretty clear on what I read so far, but since I am only newly married one year I would just like some clarification... I live in SE lower Michigan, I bought a home cash..no mortgage before I was married. My mother and I both ore on the deed. I was married several months later, I have not added my wife to the deed nor have a taken a mortgage. So I am to understand that pretty much this does not matter? That she is entitled to half of the house if we should divorce? Thanks in advance for the comments. Just wanted to be sure I am 100% crystal clear. 

Jun 21, 2013 01:00 PM #16
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Rainmaker
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