New York State
REAL PROPERTY LAW (RPL)
Laws 1909, Chap. 52
DOWER AND CURTESY
Section 189. Estate of curtesy abolished.
190b. Lands reacquired by the husband.
191. Dower in lands exchanged.
192. Dower in lands mortgaged before
193. Dower in lands mortgaged for purchase-
194. Surplus proceeds of sale under purchase-
195. Widow of mortgagee not endowed.
196. When dower barred by misconduct.
196a. When dower barred by dissolution of
197. When dower barred by jointure.
198. When dower barred by pecuniary
199. When widow to elect between jointure and
200. Election between devise and dower.
201. When deemed to have elected.
202. When provision in lieu of dower is
203. Effect of acts of husband.
204. Widow's quarantine.
205. Widow may bequeath a crop.
206. Divorced woman may release dower.
207. Married woman may release dower by
Sec. 189. Estate of curtesy abolished.
The common law estate by the curtesy in the real property of a
wife dying after the thirty-first day of August, nineteen hundred
and thirty, and all its incidents, are hereby abolished.
Sec. 190. Dower.
When the parties intermarried prior to the first day of
September, nineteen hundred and thirty, a widow shall be endowed
of the third part of all the lands whereof her husband was prior
to the first day of September, nineteen hundred and thirty,
seized of an estate of inheritance, at any time during the
marriage. Except as hereinbefore provided, after the thirty-first
day of August, nineteen hundred and thirty, no inchoate right of
dower shall be possessed by a wife during coverture, and no widow
shall be endowed, in any lands whereof her husband became seized
of an estate of inheritance.
Sec. 191. Dower in lands exchanged.
If a husband seized of an estate of inheritance in lands,
exchanges them for other lands, his widow shall not have dower of
both, but she must make her election, to be endowed of the lands
given, or of those taken, in exchange; and if her election be not
evinced by the commencement of an action to recover her dower of
the lands given in exchange, within one year after the death of
her husband, she is deemed to have elected to take her dower of
the lands received in exchange.
Sec. 190-b. Lands reacquired by the husband.
Lands in which the husband did not have an estate of inheritance
on September first, nineteen hundred thirty, and in which the
wife did not then have an inchoate right of dower, shall not be
subject to dower or an inchoate right of dower if acquired by the
husband after said date, although they had been owned by the
husband prior to said date.
Sec. 192. Dower in lands mortgaged before marriage.
Where a person seized of an estate of inheritance in lands,
executes a mortgage thereof, before marriage, his widow is,
nevertheless, entitled to dower of the lands mortgaged, as
against every person except the mortgagee and those claiming
Sec. 193. Dower in lands mortgaged for purchase-money.
Where a husband purchases lands during the marriage, and at the
same time mortgages his estate in those lands to secure the
payment of the purchase-money, his widow is not entitled to dower
of those lands, as against the mortgagee or those claiming under
him, although she did not unite in the mortgage. She is entitled
to her dower as against every other person.
Sec. 194. Surplus proceeds of sale under purchase-money
Where, in a case specified in the last section, the mortgagee, or
a person claiming under him, causes the land mortgaged to be
sold, after the death of the husband, either under a power of
sale contained in the mortgage, or by virtue of a judgment in an
action to foreclose the mortgage, and any surplus remains, after
payment of the money due on the mortgage and the costs and
charges of the sale, the widow is nevertheless entitled to the
interest or income of one-third part of the surplus for her life,
as her dower.
Sec. 195. Widow of mortgagee not endowed.
A widow shall not be endowed of the lands conveyed to her husband
by way of mortgage, unless he acquires an absolute estate
therein, during the marriage.
Sec. 196. When dower barred by misconduct.
In case of a divorce, dissolving the marriage contract for the
misconduct of the wife, she shall not be endowed.
Sec. 196-a. When dower barred by dissolution of marriage.
In case of a dissolution of the marriage because of the absence
of the wife for five successive years, as provided in section
seven-a of the domestic relations law, she shall not be endowed.
Sec. 197. When dower barred by jointure.
Where an estate in real property is conveyed to a person and his
intended wife, or to the intended wife alone, or to a person in
trust for them or for the intended wife alone, for the purpose of
creating a jointure for her, and with her assent, the jointure
bars her right or claim of dower in all the lands of the husband.
The assent of the wife to such a jointure is evidenced, if she be
of full age, by her becoming a party to the conveyance by which
it is settled; if she be a minor, by her joining with her father
or guardian in that conveyance.
Sec. 198. When dower barred by pecuniary provisions.
Any pecuniary provision, made for the benefit of an intended wife
and in lieu of dower, if assented to by her as prescribed in the
last Section, bars her right or claim of dower in all the lands
of her husband.
Sec. 199. When widow to elect between jointure and dower.
If, before the marriage, but without her assent, or, if after the
marriage, real property is given or assured for the jointure of a
wife, or a pecuniary provision is made for her, in lieu of dower,
she must make her election whether she will take the jointure or
pecuniary provision, or be endowed of the lands of her husband;
but she is not entitled to both.
Sec. 200. Election between devise and dower.
If real property is devised to a woman, or a pecuniary or other
provision is made for her by will in lieu of her dower, she must
make her election whether she will take the property so devised,
or the provisions so made, or be endowed of the lands of her
husband; but she is not entitled to both.
Sec. 201. When deemed to have elected.
Where a woman is entitled to an election, as prescribed in either
of the last two Sections, she is deemed to have elected to take
the jointure, devise or pecuniary provision, unless within six
months after the death of her husband she enters upon the lands
assigned to her for her dower, or commences an action for her
dower. But, during such period of six months after the death of
her said husband, her time to make such election may be enlarged
by the order of any court competent to pass on the accounts of
executors, administrators or testamentary trustees, or to
admeasure dower, on an affidavit showing the pendency of a
proceeding to contest the probate of the will containing such
jointure, devise or pecuniary provision, or of an action to
construe or set aside such will, or that the amount of claims
against the estate of the testator can not be ascertained within
the period so limited, or other reasonable cause, and on notice
given to such persons, and in such manner, as such court may
direct. Such order shall be indexed and recorded in the same
manner as a notice of pendency of action in the office of the
clerk of each county wherein the real property or a portion
thereof affected thereby is situated.
Sec. 202. When provision in lieu of dower is forfeited.
Every jointure, devise and pecuniary provision in lieu of dower
is forfeited by the woman for whose benefit it is made in a case
in which she would forfeit her dower; and on such forfeiture, an
estate so conveyed for jointure, or devised, or a pecuniary
provision so made, immediately vests in the person or legal
representatives of the person in whom they would have vested on
the determination of her interest therein, by her death.
Sec. 203. Effect of acts of husband.
An act, deed or conveyance, executed or performed by the husband
without the assent of his wife, evidenced by her acknowledgment
thereof, in the manner required by law to pass the contingent
right of dower of a married woman, or a judgment or decree
confessed by or recovered against him, or any laches, default,
covin, or crime of a husband, does not prejudice the right of his
wife to her dower or jointure, or preclude her from the recovery
Sec. 204. Widow's quarantine.
A widow may remain in the chief house of her husband forty days
after his death, whether her dower is sooner assigned to her or
not, without being liable to any rent for the same; and in the
meantime she may have her reasonable sustenance out of the estate
of her husband.
Sec. 205. Widow may bequeath a crop.
A widow may bequeath a crop in the ground of land held by her in
Sec. 206. Divorced woman may release dower.
A woman who is divorced from her husband, whether such divorce be
absolute or limited, or granted in his or her favor, by any court
of competent jurisdiction, may release to him, by an instrument
in writing, sufficient to pass title to real estate, her inchoate
right of dower in any specific real property theretofore owned by
him, or generally in all such real property, and such as he shall
Sec. 207. Married woman may release dower by attorney.
A married woman of full age may release her inchoate right of
dower in real property by attorney in fact in any case where she
can personally release the same.