Thanks for your E-mail Ron.Yes, there is a difference between a will & a dower release, hopefully the following will help to explain the two.
#1-WILL--A legal declaration of a person's wishes as to the disposition of his property after his death.A will is the document containing such a declaration.
#2-DOWER--A wife's interest in her husband's property, inheritable at his death.English probate law set this at 1/3. "Her thirds" was a phrase used for this.In the U.S. it was common for a woman to formally relinquish her dower claim on land sold by the husband.This also guaranteed that the property was clear of all obligations.
I hope this will be helpful to you.I did note that the #516 query--dated 3 Feb. 2003 was a dower release for the 6 heirs of Jacob Nabors who died 1817 Greenville Dist. S.C. & was dated 3 Nov. 1818.As you can see, it is not a will.
Thanks for your interest & I appreciate hearing from you.