Legal-Ease: Married, with property

Lee R. Schroeder is an Ohio licensed attorney at Schroeder Law LLC in Putnam County. He limits his practice to business, real estate, estate planning and agriculture issues in northwest Ohio. He can be reached at or at 419-659-2058. This article is not intended to serve as legal advice, and specific advice should be sought from the licensed attorney of your choice based upon the specific facts and circumstances that you face.

Married people may be surprised to find out that when selling property their spouses must sign the deeds, even if the spouse’s name was never on the property. This is required as part of “dower” law. Dower is a collection of rights possessed by a married person.

Dower’s purpose is sometimes explained through two sexist, historical situations. First, historically women couldn’t own property, so when a couple married, all property belonged to the husband. Second, in the past some men didn’t want their wives to inherit property from them. Today, dower applies to all married people in Ohio.

Some married people selling real estate become frustrated when they learn that their spouses must sign the deeds to sell property. The frustration is typically strongest when the owner’s spouse literally never had his or her name on the property.

This frustration comes from “dower” law. Dower is a collection of rights that a married person possesses (as an attribute of marriage) in property owned by the married person’s spouse.

Read more about dower and the property laws that surround marriage in Lee’s article in the Lima News here: Legal-Ease: Married, with property

Source:, “Legal-Ease: Married, with property,” by Lee R. Schroeder, November 11, 2017

Posted in Estate Planning, Homeowner Law and tagged .