Dower Versus Dowry

A dowry is property a female brings to the marriage.

Dower is a right a woman had to a share of her deceased husband’s real property as his widow. The widow’s dower was generally a one-third interest in her deceased’s husband’s property and it was held as a life estate (meaning she could transfer it, encumber the title to the property, etc.). Actual title to the real property would transfer to the husband’s heirs at his death.

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