A common law that entitles a widow to a portion of her husband's estate in absence of a will. The provision of dower allows the wife to provide for herself and any children born during the marriage. In most circumstances, the widow is granted up to one-third interest in her husband's assets.


Dower provides a woman with increased financial security if their husbands die. In some states, a woman forfeits her right to dower if she becomes the guilty party in an annulment or divorce, usually caused by adultery. In modern times, inheritance rights are more prevalent, making dower laws obsolete.