Women and Wills:
An Empirical Analysis of the Married Women's Property Act and Its Remarkable Resonance Today
Faculty: Kristine S. Knaplund, Professor of Law, Pepperdine University School of Law
Moderator: Amy Hess, Univ of Tennessee College of Law
By 1900, Missouri had a quarter century’s experience with its version of the Married Women’s Property Act, enacted in 1875 to reverse the common law and decree that personal property acquired by a married woman was her own; in 1889 a similar statute gave her control of her real property. Had enough time passed for her to accumulate enough wealth to execute a will? If she did, would she leave her property to her husband, or to others? Was her will more likely to be challenged than a man’s?