Power of the Widow

It was not uncommon a husband to bequeath his wife a life estate in his real property upon his death contingent upon her remaining a widow. This life estate in the real property allowed the widow use the property however she saw fit and receive income from the property. She just would be unable to perform any acts that impacted the title to the property–she could not sell, mortgage, or bequeath it in a will.

As long as she remained a widow in this case, she “had the power” over the property–and perhaps in a sense over anyone the husband had indicated would inherit it upon her death.