What is a dower in a residential transaction in Ohio, and why hire attorney Joe Budde to help you with this in Ohio?
“Dower Rights” refers to an interest in real estate established by Ohio law that is intended to protect a non-title holding spouse. Ohio is one of the few remaining states that still provide for such rights. Within the real estate legal community, there are current efforts to pass introduce legislation that would abolish, or at least modify the interest so that it does not create the number of title problems for which it is responsible.
So what is the problem? Whenever a married person buys real estate in Ohio, the married person’s spouse is automatically the recipient of this “dower” interest. Dower is a complicated, contingent and partial interest in the real estate. Consequently, any document that intends to convey or mortgage an interest in the property is not effective as to the dower interest of the spouse unless that spouse has also signed the document.
In the case of the mortgage, a mortgage is signed in order for the lender to have a lien against the ownership of the property. If the ownership is titled individually and the owner/purchaser is married, the spouse must also sign the mortgage or the lender’s interest is SUBJECT to the dower interest of the borrower’s spouse. When the property is sold, the Seller’s spouse will need to join in the Deed to forever release his or her dower claim against the property.
Only death or divorce will eliminate this claim.
What happens if a non-title spouse refuses to sign? The deal is off!
When a married person wishes to purchase property they can avoid the Dower issue by establishing a Revocable Living Trust. Secondary market investors in mortgages permit this type of ownership on owner occupied properties.
And Dower does not apply to a Trustee of a Trust!
Joseph E. Budde, ESQ is knowledgeable in helping his clients use this mechanism to avoid the Dower issue. We offer a free initial 30 minute consultation, so if you are in need of assistance in a dower matter, please contact us today at 614.764.0000!