The Ring




When I was working as an Assistant Register, I walked into my office one morning to find an energetic man sitting there. He stood up, gripped my hand and said, 'How old do you think I am?". I guessed 60. He told me that he was 82 years old and that he stayed in good shape because he couldn't die until he knew his son was taken care of. His son had suffered from severe cerebral palsy since birth, so severe that he was unable to hold a pen or pencil in either hand, which of course precluded him from writing or signing his name. This was before the days of personal computers, so the inability to write was hugely detrimental. In spite of this, the son held a full-time job at a local hospital and was self-supporting. The father, so loving and dedicated, had thought through the problems his son would face and hit on a unique solution. The father had a ring made with his son's initials on it. These initials were raised so that his son could press the ring on a special ink pad and then stamp his initials. If the inked initials could be considered his son’s “signature”, he could get his own credit cards and his own checking account which would help him to live even more independently. The father asked me if the court could declare the stamped initials to be his son's legal signature.


There was no precedent for this request but the judge I was working with at that time, David H. Kopelman, was willing to consider it. After research and due consideration, the petition was granted. The footnote to the story is that after the petition was granted, the son treated his father and the rest of his family to a celebration dinner - paid for by credit card, signed by ring.

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