Dower interest is an ancient concept in which each spouse has an interest in the other spouse’s real estate. Typically, it was the wife’s interest (‘dower’ indicates the concept of the wife having interest), because it’s equal protection of the law. But, in modern times, “dower” has evolved to mean both the wife and the husband’s interest in the other spouse’s property.
This is what we call an “inchoate interest,” which means that it is a stringing interest that would occur upon death, for example. However, that prevents any married couple from conveying property that they own in their own name to anyone else without getting the spouse to release dower. Thus, even though an individual’s property is in their name, if that individual goes to a bank to borrow money, the mortgage company will require the spouse on the title to sign off their dower interest in order for the new mortgage to take precedence over that earlier mortgage.