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Speaker 1:
Welcome to the Ask the Experts show, where the experts offer you educational information from local experts in the field of legal health, financial, and home improvement. Join us every week at this time for great educational information from lawyers, doctors, contractors, and specialists in their field. Sit back and enjoy the next hour of Ask the Experts.

Steve:
Good morning again, Philadelphia. I got to tell you, we have a new guest on our show. I talk to people in Philadelphia just about every day. Everybody knows her. When they said, “You got Angela Giampolo coming to your show? Wow!” You are so well known, in Philadelphia, at least. I know that.

Angela Giampolo:
I’m going to put you on retainer to just say things like that. I love it.

Steve:
You’ve got such a great reputation.

Angela Giampolo:
Thank you. Thank you. Philadelphia is an amazing city.

Steve:
It is. I got to tell you, the things that I’ve heard or that you have done … You are just so blessed and Philadelphia is blessed to have you. We are going to be doing an estate planning show, and then next month, we’re going to be doing a family law show.

Angela Giampolo:
Right. We’re going to do back to backs, family law and estate planning.

Steve:
So different. There are some emotions involved with estate planning when it comes to family.

Angela Giampolo:
Right.

Steve:
Then when you got family law, then when there’s kids involved, there’s emotional things going on.

Angela Giampolo:
They relate a lot as well in that if you’re in the midst of a dissolution, I prefer that word over in divorce, but if you’re dissolving the relationship that you’ve legally entered into, estate planning is key.

Angela Giampolo:
Divorces can take up to a year and a half. Yet, this person that you are separating from is, by default, your health care power of attorney, your … Right? Everything would go to them if, God forbid, anything happened to you during the year and a half, or sometimes three, or sometimes seven year divorce. So these are documents that, actually, the minute you know you’re separating, you should be updating.

Angela Giampolo:
Not enough people … Because they’re in that emotional spot, where they’re more concerned about the divorce, and divorce lawyers don’t necessarily think of the estate planning ramifications, that a lot of times, people don’t get their documents updated until years after a divorce.

Steve:
And then there’s probate.

Angela Giampolo:
Right. You’ve heard of those stories where people didn’t even update their life insurance beneficiary designations, and the new spouse gets nothing, because everything went to the horrible ex from 15 years prior. So yeah. They are very different, but yet they relate too.

Steve:
Well, even though you’re a superstar in Philadelphia, tell everybody about your practice.

Angela Giampolo:
Sure. Well first, I moved to Philadelphia in 1999. I’m originally French Canadian from Montreal. So when I say I love Philly, it’s an adopted city that I’m absolutely in love with. I went to Temple Law. Big T travels far and wide.

Angela Giampolo:
I started my practice geared towards the LGBTQ community. At first, I thought I was going to be an international human rights lawyer. I worked in Tanzania for the United Nations at the war crimes tribunal for the Rwandan genocide. I lived in Beijing, and I worked in human trafficking. I thought that’s what I was going to do. I was going to work in international human rights.

Angela Giampolo:
Then I quickly realized, when I was in it, that it changes you as a person. You can’t work in genocide and human trafficking all day and stayed normal same human.

Steve:
Yes. I can understand that.

Angela Giampolo:
Right? So after about a year and a half of that, I realized that’s not what I could do long term. So I came back to the US. Honestly, I didn’t know what I was going to do for seven months or so. I just wandered about aimlessly.

Angela Giampolo:
Then one day, I was having drinks with good friends of mine who own a business. They’re a gay couple, and one is Colombian. This was pre-marriage equality, and so he couldn’t get a green card, they couldn’t get married. The Colombian non-national wasn’t able to become a citizen here.

Angela Giampolo:
Yet they owned a business. The only way that they could recreate a marriage, not being able to get married, and still safely pass on the business interest, and their home and everything else, was estate planning documents. Pre-marriage equality, that’s what the LGBTQ community used.

Angela Giampolo:
We were sitting there having drinks, and they’re like, “Oh, we met with one of your kind today.” I [crosstalk 00:05:09]

Steve:
One of your kind?

Angela Giampolo:
“One of your kind.” I said, “A lesbian?” And they’re like, “No. A lawyer.” I was like, “Oh, I’m sorry. Why? Why’d you have to meet with a lawyer?” They said, “Because we need to protect ourselves, and we can’t get married, and we have all these assets and whatnot.”

Angela Giampolo:
So I said, “You know what? I’ll introduce you to a couple of lawyers that I know that are very accepting of LGBTQ people and whatnot.” They said, “Oh, no. It’s fine.” I mean, he wasn’t. “We went in, and he looked at my partner and said, ‘Is this your brother? Is this your friend? Is this your business partner?'” It was not in this guy’s frame of reference that they were life partners, but they still handed him a $5,000 retainer check despite that.

Angela Giampolo:
So the light bulb went off that there was a need, within the gayborhood of Philadelphia and within the LGBTQ community, to have a lawyer gear their practice towards them, not necessarily the legal issues that have anything to do with being gay. But we slip/fall. We own businesses. We buy real estate. We do all of the same things that our straight/heterosexual ally counterparts do. Right?

Angela Giampolo:
So Giampolo Law Group was born about 13 years ago. My office has been in the heart of the gayborhood ever since.

Angela Giampolo:
Again, being Canadian, I didn’t realize for the longest time when I was here, right up until that moment, really how different the laws were as they were applied to the LGBTQ community versus everyone else. What a lot of people don’t realize is there are in this country 1,138 state and federal rights tied to the institution of marriage.

Steve:
Wow.

Angela Giampolo:
Again, I’m Canadian. There are four rights and privileges tied to the institution of marriage. Common law is used there. After seven years, you’re automatically considered common law married. So there’s no impetus, there’s no push, there’s no need to get married in most other countries. Civil unions are the norm. My brother, I come from a long line of straight people that never got married, because it’s just not a thing that you have to do. In this country, you should not, cannot, die unmarried in this country if you have a choice about it.

Angela Giampolo:
With the Supreme Court, June 26th will be the six year anniversary of us being allowed to get married by the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court didn’t make a religious or any sort of determination. What they said is if you’re going to allow one group of people to have 1,138 state and federal rights, then this other group of people are allowed those 1,138 statements.

Steve:
Exactly, exactly. You know what, Angela? I got to tell you. Things have changed in the better for the gay community. Maybe I’m wrong. It just seems like it’s so much more [inaudible 00:08:13] now. It’s not a big deal. So what?

Angela Giampolo:
We’re lucky because we live on the coast.

Steve:
Right.

Angela Giampolo:
Truly, we live within a haven on both coasts. I don’t even face it, but I get emails from people in Mississippi, and Alabama, and that middle America, Indiana, right?

Steve:
Right.

Angela Giampolo:
But yes, I agree that, from a societal perspective, from an acceptance perspective, things have gotten much, much better. But there are still places in middle America where we don’t even … we can’t comprehend what it’s like to live there.

Steve:
Do you try to work on changing state laws yourself?

Angela Giampolo:
Yep, state laws as well as federal laws. Right now, there’s a huge push of anti LGBTQ legislation, again, in that middle America state areas that I mentioned.

Angela Giampolo:
Philadelphia is one of the top LGBTQ cities in the country per HRC. Human Rights Campaign does an annual review of cities and the laws that they have on the books. That’s how they rate the cities. Then you get bonus points for if you have additional protections and whatnot. Philadelphia, for years, going on six, seven, eight years now has been number one, over San Fran, over New York, over Seattle.

Steve:
So you’re satisfied.

Angela Giampolo:
Well, I can’t say there’s not more to be done. There’s always more to be done, but the work that I do is more is outside of the Philadelphia region, ultimately.

Steve:
Okay. My first real question to you, we’re talking estate planning today, what is a three-legged stool?

Angela Giampolo:
It’s a term I coined, and I’d like to think, at least within my Philadelphia circle, it’s gaining popularity. When you approach the estate planning process, you’re going to find an entry point to the estate planning process in one of three ways. You are either going to Google for a lawyer, but the lawyer is your entry point.
Speaker 4:
[crosstalk 00:10:36] espresso [crosstalk 00:10:36] …

Angela Giampolo:
You’re either going to your accountant … You’re a business owner, and your accountant is going to take a look at your stuff. One day, you’re going to have a conversation with your accountant, and they’re going to say, “You really should get your estate planning docs in order, because you own nine different homes with all these different investors. You’re just an estate planning nightmare. Get this together.” But they see it because they see it through your tax returns.

Angela Giampolo:
Then thirdly, and the most common after a lawyer, is your financial advisor. Because no matter what, your financial advisor, just like your accountant, is sitting down with you annually to go over you holistically. Yes, 80% of that is your finances, your investments and your holdings and whatnot. But if they’re good, they also ask these types of questions. “Do you have your estate planning documents in order? I’d like to have the trust on file along with the will.”

Angela Giampolo:
So those are one of your entry points. It’s either the accountant, the financial advisor or the lawyer.

Angela Giampolo:
What too many advisors don’t do is, if they are the entry point, like I’m the lawyer, right off the bat, I ask, “Do you have a financial advisor that you talk to? A human, not just a 1-800 number or email, but a human?” And, “Are you a business owner? [Do an intro 00:11:50] to your accountant.”

Angela Giampolo:
Within that first couple of weeks of working with them, I will meet the trusted advisors that existed before me. I’m the newest. Or if they don’t exist, is that something that you would like to have? Do you want a financial advisor? Some people don’t. Do you have an accountant other than H&R Block that you go to? Is that something that you want? Then I do the referrals of my network, and get them situated so that they’re sitting safely, securely on that three-legged stool.

Steve:
I was so shocked when I heard Prince did not have a will.

Angela Giampolo:
No. I know. Heath Ledger-

Steve:
He was a guy had all kind of advisors.

Angela Giampolo:
Right, right. The Fast and the Furious guy. The Fast and the Furious guy, Heath Ledger …

Steve:
Yeah.

Angela Giampolo:
It’s shocking.

Steve:
Why? Why do you think people don’t at least get a simple will?

Angela Giampolo:
A lot of reasons, but the two biggest are, especially with … Well, Prince is a whole different story, because fame didn’t come upon him quickly. He was famous for decades before he died. I don’t know if you’re not thinking of your mortality, don’t want to think of your mortality. But again, the amount of advisers that were around him …

Angela Giampolo:
Then with other people, it’s just they were young. They get famous young. They die young, and they never even got to be an adult enough that they would even think of something like that.

Angela Giampolo:
But Prince is actually a great example of there is no excuse, because you were famous for decades and you had advisors for decades. The amount of tax planning that had to be done, the fact that someone didn’t create tax shelters and whatnot, there’s just so much that can be done for ultra wealthy people from an estate planning perspective.

Angela Giampolo:
But I would say it’s not wanting to deal with mortality, and the fact that it’s such an easy thing to kick the can down the road about, like, “Oh, I’ll do that …”

Angela Giampolo:
My calls spike in January. I’m people’s bucket list. “I’m finally going to do that estate planning stuff.” It’s crickets and tumbleweed between Thanksgiving and Christmas, because no one wants to spend money thinking about dying when it’s the holidays, right? “Let me throw a couple extra thousand dollars, instead of at gifts, towards my potential mortality.” So Thanksgiving, to Christmas, it’s crickets and tumbleweed. Then January, man, boom, everybody starts calling.

Steve:
But Angela, you know with the pandemic, people have been dying suddenly. I would think, God, it’s so important to have an estate planning lawyer, because you just don’t know from one day to the next.

Angela Giampolo:
Absolutely. I think what the pandemic showed us was having a last will and testament, a simple will, like you said, everybody should have minimally that. But what the pandemic showed us is the other documents, the ancillary estate planning documents, the healthcare power of attorney, the durable power of attorney, the living will, those documents come into play so much more.

Angela Giampolo:
We only die once. We only die one, so we’re only ever going to need that will one time. But the durable power of attorney, if you are on a ventilator for six weeks, who paid your mortgage, who is able to get into your bank account if you were in the hospital for weeks on end? Healthcare power of attorney. It happened suddenly. You’re single. Who’s making those healthcare decisions for you while you’re in a COVID-induced coma.

Angela Giampolo:
The living will. You’re in a COVID-induced coma. There were big differences. It wasn’t a coma. It was a COVID-induced coma. We had to do it. So it didn’t trigger the living will type stuff that says if I’m in a coma, pull the plug. No. This is a COVID-induced coma.

Angela Giampolo:
But just even having your wishes down on paper saying, “This is what I want if there’s no significant hope of recovery for me …”

Angela Giampolo:
Those other documents, I ended up doing those on the fly so much more, because you know, “My boyfriend is in the hospital, and I need to pay our rent.” “My friend is in the hospital, and his family disowned him,” or whatnot. All of those other documents actually come into play more often than the will, which only ever you use once. One time’s more important than the other, but …

Steve:
Did you hear Larry King had his down on a napkin or something? Was that true?

Angela Giampolo:
[crosstalk 00:16:29] holographic. [crosstalk 00:16:30] holographic will. Not many states allow that, Pennsylvania does, where literally … My smallest will was on a Post-it note. It needs to be signed. Ultimately, it doesn’t even need to be dated. It doesn’t need to be witnessed. It doesn’t need to be notarized.

Angela Giampolo:
I don’t know what state Larry King ended up dying in, if it was California, Nevada or Arizona, but I know one of those states do not recognize holographic wills. So I don’t know what the end result ended up being. It really depends where he died.

Steve:
Okay. We’re here with, I call her superstar, because everybody knows you. You’ve got such a great reputation. Angela Giampolo. We’re going to go to break. First of all, give everybody your phone number.

Angela Giampolo:
Sure. (215) 645-2415.

Steve:
You’ve got a beautiful website.

Angela Giampolo:
Thank you. That was a labor of love.

Steve:
Give everybody your website address.

Angela Giampolo:
Sure. Giampolo, so my last name, Giampolo Law, L-A-W, com.

Steve:
Okay. We’re going to go to a break. We come back. I really actually want to know the difference between a last will and testament and a living will. I’ve got so many questions. God, you’re just such a great person to interview. We’ll be right back.
Speaker 5:
Giampolo Law Group is so passionate about estate planning, they went so far as to trademark, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”
Speaker 5:
A properly structured trust will avoid putting your loved ones through the expensive, lengthy and emotionally draining court probate process. Moreover, you can prevent some or all of your assets from being subject to estate tax upon your death, allowing more of your estate to be enjoyed by your loved ones.
Speaker 5:
The marriage equality ruling drastically changed the legal landscape for LGBTQ couples. Giampolo Law Group is experienced with what those changes mean for estate planning. GLG can help you establish or reorganize your estate plan to address your concerns, while accounting for the complexities in state and federal laws.
Speaker 5:
The attorneys at Giampolo Law Group are experienced in assisting clients with estate planning, specifically in preparing or revising wills, trusts, and the other essential documents such as powers of attorney and hospital visitation forms.
Speaker 5:
Contact Giampolo Law Group today for a complimentary consultation at (215) 398-6579. Remember, where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Steve:
We are back. We’re here with attorney Angela Giampolo. We just got a text from somebody wanting to know, when you sit down with the client, are you using Zoom right now?

Angela Giampolo:
On my Contact Us page, when you send me an email, you can ask virtual … prefer virtual or in person. People tell me how they want to meet. But yes, I would say 90% of the first initial meetings are all done via Zoom, and even the final signing. The initial meeting, and then the draft meeting, and then when we go to do the final signing, if people aren’t comfortable doing the final signing in our conference room …

Angela Giampolo:
My notary is a mobile notary, and she actually has three signings that she’s doing this week where she’s going to the homes. It’s just a couple extra bucks to literally have her come to you.

Angela Giampolo:
So yeah. All virtual. Even down to the final signing can be done in the comfort of your own home.

Steve:
Who would ever think we’d be doing a radio show by Zoom?

Angela Giampolo:
I know.

Steve:
I like it. [crosstalk 00:20:30] go into the studio …

Steve:
But we were talking about last will and testament. What is the difference between that and a living will?

Angela Giampolo:
A lot of people will call me and say, “I need a living will,” or, “I have a living will for my mom.” They’re confusing the last will and testament for the living will. It’s just they’re so close together in nomenclature in name that they quite often think that they have the last will and testament, but they don’t. They just have a living will.

Angela Giampolo:
The last will and testament is exactly … Most people know what that is. It’s the final document that names your executor; if you have children, names the guardian; and declares where your assets are going to go, the distribution of your assets, and what you want to have.

Angela Giampolo:
The living will is literally what it sounds like. You’re technically alive, living, but you’re not going to be much longer. We’re about to be reading your will. Living will.

Steve:
So they could be in hospice?

Angela Giampolo:
Hospice, having a terminal disease, in a coma, vegetative state. Doctors will refer to it as the DNR document. I refer to it as a Terri Schiavo document. People in Pennsylvania will remember that case.

Angela Giampolo:
12 years she was kept on life support. That’s a married couple. They were married for going on 25 years at that time, but they didn’t have these documents in writing. The mom said that Terri told her she wanted to be kept alive no matter what. The husband said, “Listen. I know from pillow talk. She said she’d come back and haunt me. That is not at all what she wanted.”

Steve:
Yes. I remember that.

Angela Giampolo:
Right. 12 years she stayed on life support. The accident happened in Florida. They were a Pennsylvania couple, but the accident happened in Florida, so the mom, being a Florida resident, had standing to sue, given that she was a Florida resident.

Angela Giampolo:
The living will dictates the decisions, while you’re alive but you are unable to communicate them, about what you want your end of life care to look like.

Angela Giampolo:
Pennsylvania, actually … We can talk about this more on another show. I think it’s definitely worth discussion. I would love to hear the listener’s thoughts on it. But physician assisted suicide is only legal in eight states, California being one of the most famous, but Pennsylvania is looking into, they call it a dignified death, right?

Steve:
Right.

Angela Giampolo:
Physician assisted suicide sounds really bad, just anything with the word suicide in it, but dignified death decisions. Pennsylvania is looking, obviously with COVID, legislature’s very busy with everything else, but when things settle down … This was supposed to be on the books for business this year, but we’re looking at, in the next couple of years, being able to make even more decisions. So our living will would be completely revamped, because you would have additional decisions you would be able to make.

Steve:
Let’s talk about … People think that you have to be a millionaire [inaudible 00:23:47], and that’s not true.

Angela Giampolo:
No, Steve, absolutely. I love that you bring that up, because … I don’t like the term estate planning, because estate, right?

Steve:
Yes.

Angela Giampolo:
Estate. Where are my horses? Where’s my 30 acres on my estate, my plush Bridgerton estate, or what have you. It’s not that.

Angela Giampolo:
Even debt, if you want to control who isn’t responsible for certain debt … You could have no money whatsoever and a ton of debt, let’s talk about how to not to burden loved ones with that, let alone assets that you want to distribute a certain way, let alone kids. The will is the only document that can appoint a guardian.

Angela Giampolo:
Buying a home. The minute you buy a home … The big things that bring people to me is their first home purchase and the first child. Those are the big triggers. Or they had a horrible experience with a parent who passed and didn’t have these documents. Those are the three big ones. They went through something horrific, new home, new child.

Angela Giampolo:
But really the other piece to that is we’re getting married so much later in life, statistically. 30 years ago, the national marrying age was 20 for women and 22 for men. Now, it’s 28 for women and 31 for men. So people are getting legally married and coupling much later. These are documents that, if you’re not legally married, but you’re in a long-term relationship, you would want these documents.

Angela Giampolo:
You’re 31 years old, but your mother would be making healthcare decisions for you if you didn’t have a healthcare power of attorney that appointed someone else. You could be 31 years old, not married, own a home, and if you died, your parents would get that home. That may be what you want, but maybe not. Maybe you wanted to leave it to charities, or to friends, or to an alma mater, what have you. So yeah, it’s very important.

Angela Giampolo:
The biggest thing is you’re never too young. People think I’m too young for this. I’m not wealthy enough for this. I’m not married, I’m single, so I don’t need it. Those three things could not be further from the truth.

Steve:
Well, I know there’s someone right now in their car going, “I’ve already got my will.” Well, I’m going to tell you something, and I know Angela will back me up. Just because you have a will … How often should someone come to you to review your will?

Angela Giampolo:
Update. Absolutely. Yeah. Or if they do have a will, they’re driving and they do have a will, but they got it on LegalZoom, or they got it at Staples. So maybe you think you have a will.

Angela Giampolo:
So please, yes, definitely, I do free complimentary just reviews. I never charge. My claim to fame as I never charge for a consultation. Until I know what I can do to help you, there’s never a cost associated.

Angela Giampolo:
But getting your wills updated every three to five years, depending on how old you are, where you are in life … A lot of times, even my own clients, they get an automatic email or letter from me every three to five years, and they’re like, “Oh, you know what? I’m divorced.” I’m like, “Of course I’m not the first person they thought to tell, but that’s huge.” You have life updates that require will updates as well.

Steve:
Well, I got to tell you, I am so excited about this new show. I wish you had a little bit more personality. You can imagine sitting down with Angela. First of all, you’re going to feel [inaudible 00:27:36] so comfortable. It’s not the greatest thing to talk about. Basically, you’re talking about death down the road somewhere.

Angela Giampolo:
I make it fun. I make it fun. And this guy …

Steve:
Yeah. Where’s your French accent?

Angela Giampolo:
Look at this guy.

Steve:
[inaudible 00:27:53]

Angela Giampolo:
He will be at … This is … I have [Nico 00:27:56], my little Chihuahua, in my arms, that Steve can see. The little Chihuahua is my assistant. He will be at every Zoom or in-person meeting.

Steve:
Does he speak French?

Angela Giampolo:
He does not speak French. I do. But my mom sent me to speech therapy, because I talk like this, because I had a very strong French accent. So now I have no accent [inaudible 00:28:16].

Steve:
Well, let’s do the most important thing. Give people your phone number.

Angela Giampolo:
Sure. (215) 645-2415.

Steve:
I can say this now, just after spending the first show with Angela, I endorse Angela, I don’t do it very often, but I just have this comfortable feeling with you. I am so glad. Then next month, we are going to do another show on wills and estate planning, but we’re going to do a show also on family law.

Angela Giampolo:
Family law.

Steve:
Yes. Angela, I’m so glad we have a superstar, because everybody knows you.

Angela Giampolo:
This has been wonderful. I look forward to it.

Steve:
Thank you so much. We will see you again next month.

Angela Giampolo:
We’ll see you next month. Take care, Steve. Thank you.

Steve:
Bye, Angela.

Steve:
We’ll be back with you on next Tuesday at 10:00 with more Ask the Experts. Have a good week. God bless.

Speaker 1:
Thanks for listening to the Ask the Experts show today. Join us again next week for more specialists in their field of legal health, financial and home improvement.

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