Saturday, June 18, 2011

Oops, Our Mistake

This is one of those frustrations that gay couples encounter ... a true story ... just happened to us.

Many years ago, I set up a small company that handles my rental properties and the costs associated with renovating and maintaining them. When my partner and I became a couple, we went through the legal shenanigans to have him added on as a co-owner of the company, so that if anything should happen to me, he will have ownership rights without having to have the company's assets go through probate.

Two weeks ago, I bought a small house to renovate and make available to a community hero. The company handled the transaction. However, late yesterday afternoon, I had to take care of some legal work related to it, and to make sure that my partner's name was shown on the company's filing for the title to the house. I went to the courthouse on what I thought would be a routine matter.

When I was filing that form, the clerk looked at it and said, "the company co-owner box can't be marked "male" if the owner's box is marked "male."


Turns out that old habits die hard, and when computer systems are set up for defaults, it presumes that properties cannot be owned by a same-sex couple if the primary "owner" is an entity like a small business.

I know this is complicated, but it points out that there still are some old assumptions that pervade computer systems -- and as we all know, "garbage in = garbage out."

The clerk was very good about it, apologized, and called a supervisor over who looked at it, apologized again, and promised to get an I.T. tech to fix it permanently. I just wonder how I could be the first person to encounter this situation.

Oh well, no harm, no foul. It's all legal. Now, to move on to get the renovations completed so I can concentrate on my partner's well-being and care.

Life is short: make sure legal matters are accurate.

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