curtesy

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curtesy

A widower's portion of his wife's assets that were acquired during the course of their marriage. Curtesy usually amounts to one third of the assets. Compare dower.

curtesy

The right of a husband to some interest in his deceased wife's real estate, even if the wife died without a will or left all property to another in her will.The same rights granted to a widow in her deceased husband's property are called dower.As a result of these rights,mortgage lenders may require a spouse to sign a mortgage instrument giving security in the real estate, even though the spouse has not signed the promissory note and so has no personal liability to repay the debt.Many states have abolished the ancient rights of dower and curtesy.