DO THIS FOR YOURSELF AND YOUR GUY!

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 27, 2009 3:20 PM GMT
    In another thread I've been describing my partner being an emergency admission to the hospital this past Saturday, Oct 24. He's still there awaiting surgery. The topic here, though, is a partner's rights & involvement with medical care.

    Right here in South Florida there was a terrible case some months ago, involving a lesbian couple who came down for a cruise, and one of them had some kind of brain hemorrhage that eventually killed her. The other was barred was even entering the hospital room as her partner died.

    In our case, in this same Red state, I'm fully involved with my husband's care, given unlimited access to him at all times, consulting with his doctors & nurses, treated as a relative.

    The difference is that we've prepared legal instruments that establish our mutual rights. I strongly urge every gay couple to do the same thing.

    The lesson for me came with my late partner. We had talked about doing this, once we'd lived together a year and things seemed permanent. But then we procrastinated, and never did it.

    One morning he woke up in total dementia. His AIDS had taken a sudden turn for the worse without warning. At the hospital he was determined to be mentally incapable of making decisions, while I had no legal standing regarding him at all.

    Fortunately that hospital was understanding, and initially treated me as family. But they said that couldn't continue indefinitely. Through well-connected gay contacts I was able to locate a gay-friendly attorney in the most powerful law firm in the state, and within 3 days a court made me his legal guardian, an action that ordinarily took 3 months. And when he died 6 weeks later, the same attorney arranged for me to be his Personal Representative (aka Executor), despite his leaving no will.

    (BTW, these actions set a legal precedent in that state, the first time the rights of a gay couple had ever been recognized by any court there.)

    So that as soon as I moved in with my present partner in a different state that also forbids gay marriage, I said we needed to protect each other with the appropriate legal instruments. We used a prominent gay attorney (a former Fort Lauderdale City Commissioner, candidate for Mayor in the last election, though sadly finishing second), and those documents are what gives me unquestioned access to my husband in the hospital (or him to me, if I become the one in their care).

    You never know what might happen: a car accident, a fall down the stairs, the swine flu. Do you want to be turned away from your BF or partner's hospital room, banished to the hospital lobby?

    Forget the argument that you're both still not ready to make it "official" or permanent. Especially if you're already living together, this needs to be done now. If you find him unconscious on the bathroom floor one morning, as has happened to me, what do you do? What is your status?

    And these documents can be rescinded in 2 minutes, if you should later break up. If you care about a guy, and especially if you live with him, this needs to be done ASAP.

    Otherwise, if something happens to him, or to you, in the US you or him may be legally nothing more than a bystander on the sidewalk. Consider it.
  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Oct 27, 2009 3:38 PM GMT
    Well done Tom, thanks for the insight and for having the determination you did with your former partner. Very important. I know I have already taken steps regarding heath related emergencies.

    But this should all be a part of long term planning in general... including estate planning. "Red state gays" should take the initiative to talk to a gay friendly attorney about the laws in your state regarding probate processes,
    trusts, etc. Many of us have seen what happens when one partner leaves the other "out in the cold" so to speak legally. They get nothing.... and in many cases the family of the deceased "greedily moves in" to get what they can. The former partner may get nothing since they have no legal standing.

    Its a mistake I'll NEVER make!!!!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 27, 2009 4:06 PM GMT
    HndsmKansan saidWell done Tom, thanks for the insight and for having the determination you did with your former partner. Very important. I know I have already taken steps regarding heath related emergencies.

    But this should all be a part of long term planning in general... including estate planning. "Red state gays" should take the initiative to talk to a gay friendly attorney about the laws in your state regarding probate processes,
    trusts, etc. Many of us have seen what happens when one partner leaves the other "out in the cold" so to speak legally. They get nothing.... and in many cases the family of the deceased "greedily moves in" to get what they can. The former partner may get nothing since they have no legal standing.

    Its a mistake I'll NEVER make!!!!

    Yes! And strangely enough, my own late partner had been through this horror himself, why we talked about it, but in the end we procrastinated and did nothing regarding ourselves. Leaving me to take very expensive legal measures to correct things, as he lay in a hospital bed dying.

    His story: his late partner cheated on him and contracted HIV, which he then passed on to him, eventually killing him, too. His partner then developed AIDS, and was seriously ill for a year. My future partner went bankrupt with the medical costs.

    No family relative helped the dying man, all the costs & care falling on the shoulders of his partner. He was at home, and his last months in dementia were very difficult for my future partner, caring for him daily.

    When he died his partner was turned away at the funeral home, and also the church service, at the direction of the mother. About 2 weeks after the death, my future partner came home from his office to see a moving van in front of their house.

    Everything inside was being packed, under the direction of his late partner's mother, who was there. She'd obtained a court order to seize everything in the house, and all my future partner's things, furniture & clothing, were being carted away, as well. No attempt was being made to determine who owned what. The court order said to strip the house, and that's what they were doing.

    Ironically, my future partner was a law clerk to a Harris County Texas judge (Houston), but at that hour he wasn't able to contact him or anyone else to issue a stop-order. He had to watch all his worldly possessions being taken away by the vengeful mother of his late partner, who persisted in her belief that is was he who had infected her son with HIV, not the other way around.

    Nor had the mother paid a single penny for her son's medical care that had bankrupted his partner, nor visited him once while he was dying. But now that he was dead, she claimed everything.

    Never underestimate the selfish behavior of people when a death occurs. Vultures will appear out of the woodwork, and try to deny a gay partner his rights. The only protection is a legal document, that needs to be drawn today!