dower

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Related to dowerless: Parapherna, Dowable, marriage portion

Dower

In wills and estates, a percentage of a husband's assets to which a widow is entitled, regardless of how much she is given in her husband's will. Thus, a husband may will her more than the dower, but not less. The amount of the dower varies, and few jurisdictions still have laws requiring one.

dower

A widow's portion of her husband's assets that were acquired during the course of their marriage. The dower, usually amounting to one third, applies even if the deceased husband wills her a portion less than this. Compare curtesy.

dower

A widow's rights in the real property of her deceased husband. The similar right of a widower in his deceased wife's property is called curtesy. Many states have abolished these rights and replaced them with a more generic homestead right or surviving spouse's share.