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A Brief Summary in Plain Language of the Most Important Laws Concerning Women; Together with a Few Observations Thereon . Bodichon, Barbara Leigh Smith, 1827–1891.
page: 10


Her property.

A widow recovers her real property, but if there be a settlement she is restricted by its provisions. She recovers her chattels real if her husband has not disposed of them by will or otherwise.

A wife’s paraphernalia.

A wife’ paraphernalia ( i.e. id est , her clothes and ornaments) which her husband owns during his lifetime, and which his creditors can seize for his debts, becomes her property on his death.

Her liabilities.

A widow is liable for any debts which she contracted before marriage, and which have been left unpaid during her marriage.

A widow is not bound to bury her dead husband, it being the duty of his legal representative.

A widow’s one‐third.

If a man die intestate, the widow, if there are children, is entitled to one‐third of the personality; if there are no children, to one‐half: the other is distributed among the next of kin, among whom the widow is not counted. If there is no next of kin the moiety goes to the crown.

The husband can, of course, by will deprive a wife of all right in the personality.


A right is granted in Magna Charta to a widow to remain forty days in her husband’s house after his death, provided she do not marry during that time.


A widow has a right to a third of her husband’s lands and tenements for her life. Right of dower is generally superseded by settlements giving the wife a jointure. If she accept a jointure she has no claim to dower.