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Experience:  I have my own practice in Sarasota, FL- Estate Planning, Medicaid & VA law, Probate & Family Law
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Can you explain Michigan Dower Rights I am a man, purchased

Resolved Question:

Can you explain Michigan Dower Rights? I am a man, purchased a house while I was single.

I got married and I assumed that the house became joint property with my wife, my assumption being that if I died it would belong to her...which I want...no matter if I had a will or not.

But then I read something about Dower Rights to the effect that the spouse would only get the use of 1/3 of the property for her lifetime?

This is all very confusing to me. Why would the state take 2/3 of my house? How would it take 2/3 of a house???

We both own parcels of land given to us by family or purchased by us before the marriage. Would they not go to the surviving spouse?

Any help would be appreciated.

Thank you
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  Daniel P. replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for entrusting me with your legal issue. I will work diligently and quickly to answer your questions. I look forward to assisting you.

 

Do you have any children together? Do you have any children that she is not the mother of?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

None together.

 

I have a 21 year old son from a prior marriage.

 

She has never had a child.

 

We want the surviving spouse to get all our property, but this whole Dower Thing is confusing us. We intend to make a will soon, but I assumed that even prior to a will the surviving spouse would get the property owned by us.

 

Thanks for your help.

 

I was surprised to see someone from FL as I assumed MI law was different than FL?

Expert:  Daniel P. replied 4 years ago.

Section 558.1 of Michigan Statutes discuss dower rights which states that the spouse is entitled to 1/3 of the use of the land for the rest of the spouse's life. Dower rights only deal with real property that you own solely, anything jointly owned will still be 100% to your wife.

 

So in layman's term, dower rights will allow your wife to remain on the property for the rest of her life. Although she only has a 1/3 interest (the other 2/3 goes to your heirs at law), her 1/3 interest will protect her if your children decide they want to sell the home because her signature will be required.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

 

Thank you very much. This helps explain it. I am happy with your help and will gladly pay the agreed fee.

 

My last question is that you mentioned that "the other 2/3 goes to your heirs at law"

 

Who would the heirs at law be? I have one son from a prior marriage and that is it besides my wife.

 

Thanks again for your help!

Expert:  Daniel P. replied 4 years ago.
Without a will stating otherwise, your son from your prior marriage would be the heir at law.
Daniel P., Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 2740
Experience: I have my own practice in Sarasota, FL- Estate Planning, Medicaid & VA law, Probate & Family Law
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