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Real Estate – Dower Act

In-law Suites: What Are They and What You Need to Know

The Dower Act in Alberta was the result of the efforts of Emily Murphy, a notable reformer and suffragist. She was alarmed to meet a woman who was left penniless when her husband sold the farm and left the family. Murphy was successful in lobbying the Alberta government to introduce the Dower Act in 1917, so that wives could be guaranteed one-third of their spouse’s estate.


The Act has evolved since 1917, and this is the current form:


2(1) No married person shall by act inter vivos make a disposition of the homestead of the married person whereby any interest of the married person will vest or may vest in any other person at any


  • during the life of the married person, or
  • during the life of the spouse of the married person living at the date of the disposition,

unless the spouse consents to the disposition in writing, or unless the Court has made an order dispensing with the consent of the spouse as provided for in section 10.

homestead” means a parcel of land

(i) on which the dwelling house occupied by the owner of

the parcel as the owner’s residence is situated

If an owner of a property is married and the only person registered on title, the owner may not deal with the property without the consent of the other spouse, if either of them lived on the property during the marriage.

A spouse may consent to the disposition of the property (ex. sale or mortgage) if the following forms are consented to and acknowledged apart from the other spouse, before a commissioner, notary or lawyer. A permanent Release of Dower Rights with regard to a certain property can only be signed with an independent lawyer.




Please contact us if you have any questions about Dower Rights in Alberta.