Friday, July 19, 2002
Going to the Lawyer and We're Gonna Get Married in a Functional-Equivalent Sense
Today's the big day. After going on eight years, Mack and I are off to see the lawyer to sign the papers that create the legal structures that give us some semblence of the arrangements straight people get by taking a couple of vows and signing one document at the Justice of the Peace.
There are durable powers-of-attorney to sign giving us mutual access to each other's financial and legal instruments, most of which are already jointly held. There are health-care surrogate (medical power-of-attorney) documents to sign making each of us the decision maker in medical matters should the other become temporarily incapacitated. There are living wills to sign giving each of us responsibility for deciding if or when to pull the plug should the other enter a life state from which he is likely never to return that requires inhuman mechanical life-support just to keep the body alive.
Of course, the degree to which various family, legal, and medical individuals will accept those documents as binding without further challenges remains unknown. The PoA will likely be no problem at all. I think it unlikely that either the health-care surrogate or living will would be a problem unless we run across someone acting ridiculously homophobic in some medical establishment someday. Thankfully, that's a fairly low-probability event. If I understand correctly from the lawyer, the health-care surrogacies and living will should be valid anywhere in the USA and, with original copies, in parts of the rest of the world.
We're still working on the wills. Clearly, we don't anticipate trouble from our families, or we'd be worrying about that more right now, too. That, and, as mentioned above, the fact that most everything is already jointly held. We do have to deal with what should happen if we both left this world at the same time (which, in Florida, means within 60 days of each other).
One of the upsides to being a childless couple is that when you die it's easy to have arranged that what meager wealth you accumulate in this lifetime goes to further causes you'd like to support rather than to shiftless, ne'er-do-well, children. Or even to loving caring children. We're looking for foundations that supply scholarships to homofolk who want to study engineering. We may have to create that ourselves, but if any reader has pointers to appropriate existing scholarships, we'd love to hear about them.