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Supreme Court of Missouri has recently decided, that where a married woman goes into business, wilhout her husband's consent, he is not responsible for her debts. The husband's property is liable for debts of wife contracted before marriage.
MONTANA.—Married women can conduct business separate and apart from their husbands, with their separate property. Their separate property is exempt from all debts and liabilities of their busbands, unless for necessary expenses of her family and children.
NEBRASKA.- The property, real and personal, which any woman in this State may own at the time of her marriage, and any real or personal property which shall come to her by descent, device, bequest, or gift of any person except her husband (excepting marriage settlements), shall remain her sole and separate property, notwithstanding her marriage, and not be subject to the dispos:l of her husband or liable for his debts. She may bargain and sell and enter into contracts with reference to any of her separate property. In the same manner, to the same extent, and with like effect as a married man may in relation to his real and personal property. She may sue and be sued the same as if unmarried, and carry on any trade, or business, or perform labor on her sole and separate account, and her earnings are not subject to the husband's debts or control.
NEVADA.—Under the statutes of 1867, married women can become sole traders, and conduct business separate and apart from their husbands. She is allowed all the privileges, and is liable to all legal process, now or hereafter provided by law against debtors and creditors, and may sue and be sued alone without being joined with her husband.
NEW HAMPSHIRE.—Married women hold all property owned by them before marriage, or acquired afterwards in any way except through property of the husband, to their sole and separate use, as if unmarried. All their contracts in relation to such property are valid and binding; their other contracts void. Upon the death of wife, the husband is entitled to the same share of ber estate as she would be of his estate in case of his death, They are liable for debts contracted while single, and their property may be attached to puy them. They are also liable for their torts before marriage in relation to their separate property. The husband is not liable for the wife's anti-nuptial debts.
NEW JERSEY.--Contracts of married women are void, except as provided by statutes of 1857 and 1862. By the act of 1857. explained in the act of 1862, married women can bind themselves by covenants in deeds for their own property. By act of 1862 suits may be instituted against married women for claims or demands, " in all cases where a married woman transacts any business or purchases any property.” This act bas been construed as operating only against women trading generally: not operating in single, isolated cases, but regularly carrying on business.
NEW YORK. -A married woman is bound by all her contracts made in her separate business or relating to her separate estate, and she may sue and be sued in all matters having relation to her sole and separate property, business or trade, in the same manner as if she were unmarried. Where she becomes indorser for another, a simple declaration in the indorsement of intent to charge her separate estate is sufficient. The law protects all the property she owned at the time of her marriage, and its rents, issues, and profits, and all her earnings and acquisitions as her sole and separate property, and it is not subject to the interference or control of her husband, or liable for his debts. Her contracts in respect to her property are not binding upon her husband, nor is his property in any way liable therefor. A husband is liable for the debts of his wife contracted before marriage, to the extent only of the separate property acquired of her. When she is a party to an action, her husband must be joined with her, except when either the action concerns her separate property, or the action is between herself and her husband. She has the right of dower. Females at eighteen can devise real property.
NORTH CAROLINA.—Married women cannot make a valid executory contract, and are not personally liable for any debt contracted during coverture. Her real estate is not liable to the debts of her husband. She is entitled to dower in all of her husband's real estate after his death, and to a year's support out of his personal property after his death.
OHIO.-A married woman can only sell real estate in her own name under seal, and by her husband's joining in the conveyance. Her note jointly with her husband is prima facie that she changes her property for the debt in equity. When engaged in any mercantile or other business, she may sue and be sued alone, and for separate property is liable for any judgment rendered against her in such suit. The husband cannot mortgage household goods except the wife joins.
OREGON.—The constitution of the State provides that the property and pecuniary rights of every married woman, at the time of marriage, or afterwards acquired by gift, devise, or inheritance, shall not be subject to the debts or contracts of the husband; and laws shall be passed providing for the registration of the wife's separate property. Laws have been passed providing for the registration of personal property. The courts hold that registration of real property is not necessary. No other provisions are made relative to a married woman's separ rate property. She can only convey her real estate or right of dower by joining with her husband in a conveyance, and acknowledging it apart from her husband; but otherwise, may contract in relation to her separate property.
PENNSYLVANIA.- -A married woman can make no binding contract as a trader unless she has authority from the Court of Common Pleas to act as a “feme sole tra ler” which is granted in certain cases Her separate property is liable for necessaries. When property is claimed hy a married woman as against the creditors of her husband, slie must show clearly either that she owned it at the time of her marriage, or acquired it afterwards by gilt, bequest, or purchase.
RIODE ISLAND.—Where the wife buys goods on her own account, the husband must be sued for the debt. They can dispose of their real estate or personal property by will, but the husband's right of courtesy and administration without account is saved. The real and personal estate, which have been the property of any married woman before marriage, or which may become her property after marriage, or which may be acquired by her own industry, are so far secured to her sole and separate use, that the same, and the rents, profits, and income thereof, are not liable to be attached or taken for the debts of the husband, either hefore or after his death ; and upon the death of the husband in the lifetime of the wife, it remains her sole and separate property. When a married woman does business in her own name for her own benefit, no suit can be brought against her or her husband. If she has acted as his agent, the husband can be sued.
SOUTH CAROLINA.—The real and personal property of a married woman, whether held by her at the time of her marriage, or accrued to her thereafter, either by gift, grant, inheritance, devise, purchase, or otherwise, is not subject to levy and sale for her husband's debts; and a married woman can bequeath, devise, or convey her separate property in the same manner and to the same extent as if she were unmarried. She can also purchase any species of property in her own name and take conveyance therefor, and contract and be contracted with, in the same manner as if she were unmarried.
TENNESSEE.-A married woman can make no valid contract herself by virtue of her own contracting power. She may, of course, act as her husband's agent, and bind him. If she has a separate estate she may, by specially charging this, render it liable to be subjected to the satisfaction of the charge in equity; and if property be settled on her with powers over it conferred by the deed of settlement, she may carry out these powers, how. ever large they may be, but here the validity of her action flows from the deed.
Texas.—Separate property of married women is not holden for debts of husband, except for necessaries of family under certain circumstances ; all property owned or claimed by her before marriage, and that afterwards acquired by her by gift, devise, or descent, rests absolutely in her, but under the control of her husband. She cannot convey her property without consent of her husband, nor can he convey her real estate without her joining in the conveyance.
Utao.—Married women have no power to make a business contract.
VERMONT.—When a married woman is doing business in her own name, and obtains credit on her own account, her husband may be sued for a recovery of the debt. A married woman is not bound by her covenant in a deed. The only valid contract she can make is for erecting, repairing, or altering buildings upon her real estate which can be enforced by perfecting a lien upon the property in the nature of a mortgage. The general tone of the law in this State respecting married women is that they have no legal existence.
VIRGINIA.—There is very little statute law on this subject, the general principle holding good in the main) that a married woman cannot make a contract; but uniting with her husband, she can convey her title in real estate. The general common law doctrines, common to most of the States, are recognized as law here. The acts of a wife sometimes become binding on the husband, on the principle that she is his agent for the particular transaction, or where the husband has ratified similar acts or contracts.
WEST VIRGINIA.—A married woman can only make contracts in business when living separate and apart from her husband. She may hold in her own right any property that can be held by a man, who, by marrying her, becomes liable for his wife's debts contracted after marriage.
WISCONSIN.-A married woman may engage in trade with her hushand's consent, and pledge her separate property for debts thus incurred. Is entitled to hold property which she receives from sources other than her husband. Is liable upon all contracts made upon the faith of her property or for its benefit, wliether such liability arises by written or parol coatract. She may sell and dispose of her property the same as if a single woman. The husband is not liable for payment of the wife's anti-nuptial debts. She may be sued for such debts, and all judgments against her may be enforced by execution.' Her individual earnings shall not be subject to the husband's control, nor liable for his debts.
Any person of sound mind and proper age (except married women) are legally entitled to dispose of their property by will. The party must be of full age to devise real estate. In many States, however, minors may bequeath personal property. The limitation generally for such purpose is for males, eighteen years, and for females, sixteen years.
To make a perfect and unobjectionable will, is somewhat difficult, but of the highest importance. Eminent lawyers, not familiar with this branch of the law, have made mistakes, and thereby caused long and expensive litigations. A sound judgment should be exercised in the use of language to make the will free from ambiguity and uncertainty of meaning. The intention of the testator (the person making the will) should be fully and plainly stated, and should say, in the beginning of the instrument, " This is nuy last will,” &c. If the testator intends to give the property for a certain number of years, or for life, or for ever, he should say so; he ought also to describe the property with re'isonahle certainty, as, for instance, “My house and lot known as No. Bond street, city and county of New York," or " My six houses and lots known as Nos. 81, 83, 85, 87, 89, and 91 Pear street,” or “My farm of one hundred and sixty acres in Claverack, Columbia County, State of New York," or “My gold watch,” or “My horse,” &c., &c.
All wills must be made in writing, with the testator's full Dame attached, unless the person making the same be prevented by the extremity of his last sickness, when his name must be signed in his presence, and by his express direction.
In Alabama, California, Colorado, Dakota, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wash
gton, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, and Montana, a will must be attested by two subscribing witnesses.
In Arkansas, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Sruth Carolina, and Vermont, by three subscribing witnesses.