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In Michigan, does wife have dower interest in property held by husband and mother, as joint tenants with rights of survivorship?

Flint, MI |

My brother bought property when he was single and had the deed put in his name and Mother's name as joint tenants with full rights of survivorship. Mother now wants her name off of the property and my brother wants my name in her place just as before. So it would read, John Doe and Bill Doe, as joint tenants with full rights of survivorship. My brother is now married, so does his wife have a dower interest in this property in light of the way it is presently owned? I guess what I'm asking is, Does my brother's wife need to sign the Deed also, or just my brother and mother? Or maybe just my mother?

Attorney Answers 5

  1. Best answer

    While I agree with Attorney Quick, the facts that you lay out suggest that your situation falls within one of those exceptions mentioned. A property held as joint tenants with rights of survivorship is not subject to dower and the wife would not need to consent to its sale or transfer. There is no reason why the wife cannot sign, even if it is not required, if she is willing to do so.

    James Frederick

    ***Please be sure to mark if you find the answer "helpful" or a "best" answer. Thank you! I hope this helps. ***************************************** LEGAL DISCLAIMER I am licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and have offices in Wayne and Ingham Counties. My practice is focused in the areas of estate planning and probate administration. I am ethically required to state that the above answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. These responses should be considered general legal education and are intended to provide general information about the question asked. Frequently, the question does not include important facts that, if known, could significantly change the answer. Information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state. If I refer to your state's laws, you should not rely on what I say; I just did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant that I hoped you would find helpful. You should verify and confirm any information provided with an attorney licensed in your state. I hope you our answer helpful!

  2. When a married man wants to transfer his interest in property, his wife must sign, barring some exceptions.

    It would be wise to contact an estate planning or real estate attorney in your area to discuss details of your wishes and how best to achieve them.

  3. As a general rule, if the home is not your primary marital home, and/or it is pre-marital property, then your wife does not have to consent to a transfer of your ownership interest.

    If this answer was helpful, please mark it as helpful or as a best answer. This answer is for general education purposes only. It neither creates an attorney-client relationship nor provides legal guidance or advice. The answer is based on the limited information provided and the answer might be different had additional information been provided. You should consult an attorney.

  4. I concur with Attorney Frederick. Dower rights in Michigan have survived judicial scrutiny in the last several years and have yet to be legislatively abolished. This makes Michigan the exception rather than the rule. The term "joint tenants with full rights of survivorship" also has a specific meaning under Michigan law that is atypical of other states. That is why it is imprudent to answer questions outside of your state of jurisdiction - you don't know what you don't know. Unfortunately, laypersons are often unaware of how significantly the law can vary from state to state. Therefore, a questioner using this site might not realize how important it is to only consider advice from an attorney licensed to practice law in the relevant state.

    DISCLAIMER: This answer is provided as general information, which may not be appropriate for the specific facts of your particular situation. No attorney-client relationship has been established based on this limited communication. You are advised to consult with an attorney in your jurisdiction before taking any action or inaction that may affect your legal rights.

  5. No.
    Michigan Land Title Standard 4.4 "dower – joint tenancy"
    standard : a wife has no inchoate dower in real property that her husband and one or more other persons own as joint tenants .

    The above answer is generalized reply to an question and is not intended to be legal advice or establish an attorney-client relationship with you. If necessary you should meet with an attorney and provide the attorney with all relevant documents and get an attorney opinion or advice on your situation.

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