You are listening to an excerpt from Ask the Experts on Talk 860 WWDB AM with weekly guest, LGBTQ legal expert Angela Giampolo.
This week host Steve O and Angela discuss estate planning issues including:
- Critical reasons why estate planning is not only for the rich
- The importance of notifying your “decision makers” about power of attorney
- How to avoid a protracted probate process during the COVID era.
And much more!
Speaker 1 (00:01)
You’re listening to an excerpt from Ask the Experts on Talk 860 Wwdbam with weekly guest LGBTQ legal expert Angela Giampolo. This week host Steve O and Angela discuss estate planning issues, including estate planning is not only for the rich, the importance of notifying your decision makers about power of attorney and how to avoid a protracted probate process during the Covid era.
Speaker 2 (00:29)
Welcome to the Ask The Expert Show, where we’re with you every Tuesday from ten to eleven with Philadelphia’s finest experts in legal, health, financial and home improvement. And we always start off each week at our 10:00 show with one of the top attorneys. I think she’s a top attorney.
Speaker 3 (00:56)
I have you on retainer to say things like that.
Speaker 2 (01:00)
But she is one of the finest attorneys and she has got such a big heart. She mainly deals with the LGBTQ community in family law, estate planning, which you’re going to be talking about today, employment law and real estate. Let me welcome our expert, Angela Giampolo. Good morning.
Speaker 3 (01:27)
Good morning, Steve. Are you well rested? Another background every Tuesday. Who knows where I’ll be in any given Tuesday?
Speaker 2 (01:40)
Oh, I know. Did you have a good holiday?
Speaker 3 (01:42)
I did. How about you?
Speaker 2 (01:44)
It wasn’t long enough.
Speaker 3 (01:46)
Well, it’s not over. When you emailed me yesterday, I hope your holiday was good. I’m like it’s just starting. We have next week.
Speaker 2 (01:53)
Well, Angela, I got to tell you, we’re starting a new city. In a couple of weeks, we’re going to be going to Las Vegas, Nevada.
Speaker 3 (02:07)
Speaker 2 (02:08)
Starting a new show there. But I got to tell you, I love your show. I love your heart. I love the fact that you want to educate people and at the same time let people in the LGBTQ community know who you are and know that there’s someone out there fighting for them. I think it’s amazing what you do.
Speaker 3 (02:36)
Thank you. I feel like not a lot of people, especially on the coast and in big cities, realize how far we still have to go ultimately. I was just talking yesterday to a really good friend of mine. I’ve known him for going on 15 years, and it’s the holidays. So unfortunately, homophobia and within family situations, if they’re going to rear their ugly head, they tend to occur in the holidays. And he lives right here in Philadelphia, one of HRC’s top rated LGBTQ cities in the country, seven years running now. And yet he had a horrific situation where he ended up having to call the police about and just we’ve come a long way and allies say that. People say that and it’s sort of the thing that you say because we have come a long way ultimately. But there is still so far to go. And for those of us who live in big cities or on the coast, we’re privileged and we have no idea what it’s like to live in a small town of 1000 people in the middle of Alabama where it’s not okay to be out and sort of just live life as an unassuming human.
Speaker 2 (04:04)
We’re going to be talking about estate planning. And I got to tell you that, and I kind of also like to talk about wills at the same time. People think that they have to be multimillionaires either to fall for a will or to go to talk to an attorney about estate planning. And that’s just not true.
Speaker 3 (04:30)
It’s categorically untrue. It’s one of the biggest myths that I try to debunk, if you will. I was out the other night, and one of my clients was at the table, and he called me over, and his good friend was sitting with him, and he kept pointing to him, and he’s like, he needs you. He needs you. And the guy was like, no, I don’t. All I have is debt. And so here we have the myth that estate planning is only for bajillionaires. And that myth exists because it’s called estate planning. I don’t have an estate. Right. Do you have an estate? Do you have horses running around on your estate? I hate the term, but there’s no better term. I used to say for a minute I called it family planning, but I’m never going to have kids. Right. I have my Chihuahua. And so, yeah, I consider him family, there you go. Yeah. Just the term, estate planning makes you think that you need a bajillion dollars and you don’t. And then there are the people who do have a home. They have a home. They have a 401K. That is the perfect person to get estate planning is a home and a 401K.
Speaker 3 (06:05)
People think that that’s so simple. Right? Like, all I have is a home and my 401K.
Speaker 3 (06:11)
That’s a lot. Your 401K. Yes, it has a beneficiary designation, but your home. Right. Where’s your home going to? So you have this whole group of people who think it’s not for them because they’re not the billionaires, but it’s actually exactly meant for them. And then you have this other group of people that have debt, let’s say, or maybe don’t have a home and maybe don’t even have a 401K. Let’s just say they’re 31. No 401K, no home. They’re renting. Well, if you’re 31 years old, chances are you don’t want your mother making health care decisions for you. Chances are you’re probably in a committed relationship, gay or straight. It doesn’t matter. And you want that person that you’ve been in a committed relationship with for the last five years to be your durable power of attorney. If anything were to happen to you, who is paying rent? I just had this happen with a client of mine. I’m helping him on something else. And I didn’t know he didn’t have his estate plan done. He’s 55, 56, something like that. Renting right. So you’re sort of average American, mid 50s, doesn’t own a home, has some retirement accounts here and there, but ultimately not very wealthy.
Speaker 3 (07:31)
He inherited something. So I’m helping him on that piece. He had a stroke about six months ago. And while he was out and about outside of his apartment, he had a stroke. And so people around him ended up getting him to the hospital. He wakes up, sort of comes to about a week later, he’s still in the hospital recovering from the hospital. He goes to rehab because when you have a stroke, like he lost some movement and whatnot got back to his apartment? He didn’t have an apartment.
Speaker 3 (08:08)
It’s just like, first of all, he had no healthcare power of attorney. Random humans on the street helped him get to the hospital. Once he was in the hospital, there was no one for them to call. Then once he was in rehab, nobody had access to him until he was able to say, okay, Stephen, OK, let Angela in. But ultimately, no one was there to support him or help him. And then he gets back. And after not paying rent, rehab was six weeks. The hospital was one. So after being completely MIA for seven weeks and not paying rent and whatnot all this stuff boxed up, all done legally, the landlord did what they needed to do legally. But yeah, no apartment. So it’s important for everyone for a multitude of reasons.
Speaker 2 (08:55)
I got to tell you, Angela, somebody text me last week saying that everybody in Philadelphia knows you, that you’re like a rock star in Philadelphia. You never told me that. How did you get Angela on the show? Everybody knows Angela because we have so much fun. That’s why you’re a rock star in Philadelphia.
Speaker 3 (09:28)
Well, I’m going to come down to Fort Lauderdale and Wilton Manors where you’re probably a rock star, and you’ll take me to that restaurant with your friend and chef.
Speaker 2 (09:35)
I would love to do that. So you were telling us a story about someone. Apparently they didn’t have power of attorney. How do they find out when somebody has power of attorney? It’s on the books, apparently. But how do they find out there’s someone they can contact?
Speaker 3 (10:03)
Yeah, that’s a really good question. It’s actually not on the books anywhere. It’s not something that gets filed with the court. You can file a will with the court, but that’s not done very often. And there are reasons I don’t recommend doing that. But powers of attorney are never filed anywhere, per se. So I always tell my clients, it’s great that you are doing these documents and that you’re getting them done. But ultimately it’s important that everyone knows that they exist in your circle, in your world, that everybody knows that you’ve done this. And after my client is done, I will send a letter with my business card to their primary decision maker. So if they are a couple, I don’t do the primary because they were both my clients. But if they’re single, I send a letter to their primary decision maker and their alternate decision maker and say, Steve did his estate planning with me. You play a pivotal role. It’s important that we all know each other. You’re probably going to find out that something happened to Steve before I do. So here’s my business card. If you ever need anything, call me kind of thing.
Speaker 3 (11:23)
So that goes out to the people that they appoint. Now, if we go back to the story of my client who had the stroke, how does your brother find out that you had the stroke in that situation? So unfortunately, the only way, if something happens to you out and about in the world is for you to come to, right? If you never come to if he hadn’t woken up from his stroke, if he had stayed in a coma, they would have gone through his wallet. I’m sure they would have gone through his phone. If they could have gotten into his phone and tried to find a human who would have tried to find another human who would have tried to piece it together. They’re good about stuff like that, about tracking down, like, legal next of kin. But your legal next of kin may not be your power of attorney, and especially within the LGBTQ community. My friend that I spoke to last night, he’s disowned his legal next of kin. So if he ended up in the hospital and they started tracking down his parents, oh, I’ve disowned them. Brother disowned, uncle disowned.
Speaker 3 (12:33)
So you having those nearest you and their contact information in your wallet, in your purse is very important. Knowing what your contact information is very important. And then, like I said, letting everyone else around you know that you did these documents is also very important. That way I don’t have to be the one calling your brother and being like, Guess what? Brother Steve appointed you durable power of attorney. And him finding out for the first time from me.
Speaker 2 (13:09)
I think one of the things that’s so important for someone to sit down with you talking about estate planning is one of the things you’re going to do is try to keep them out of the probate court.
Speaker 3 (13:22)
Absolutely. That’s the whole point.
Speaker 2 (13:24)
Speaker 3 (13:26)
Expensive. And with COVID. It was long before COVID. I’m closing up a bunch of estates as we round out the year 2021. And the majority of them spanned the last two years of Covid. I don’t know how many phone calls. I feel where people are like, I don’t know if my attorney is doing something wrong, but the state administration has been taking two and a half years, and I’m like it’s Covid. Like, your lawyer is not doing anything wrong. My life sucks as a result, too. It’s just hard. So probate is costly and ultimately very long, your beneficiaries are going to wait forever for their money. And that’s not what you want. If you love your loved ones. Avoiding the Probate process is what we want to do in estate planning. Just Google Susie Orman Probate Avoidance, like she’s the queen of probate avoidance. I love her. I love the fact that she respects the estate planning documents. A lot of these famous financial advisers and financial planners poopoo on the estate planning document side of things, but she doesn’t. She really says you’re not a well rounded, you’re not fully protected and well rounded, until you have those estate planning documents.
Speaker 3 (14:57)
And she recommends a Revocable Living Trust for everyone. Again, doesn’t matter. Definitely if you have a home. Definitely if you have a home. But even if you don’t, she recommends them because it is a probate avoidance tool. So for those of you on the radio, you can’t see this. But imagine this coffee cup as a Revocable Living Trust. Anything that we put in, I have coffee in it, so I won’t actually put my pen. But anything that we put in the Revocable Living Trust passes outside of Probate. So I mentioned the 401K earlier. Anything with the beneficiary designation automatically avoids Probate. Your 401K will avoid Probate. Your life insurance will avoid Probate as long as you don’t check off the estate as the beneficiary. I don’t know how many times people come to me and I ask for their forms and the beneficiary because they’re single. The beneficiary is the estate of Steve. No, that means you just pulled it into Probate. Right? So we can talk about who to leave. If you’re not sure who to leave it to, I can talk about how to word that. But ultimately, this Revocable Living Trust, you retitle your real estate property or anything that would go to Probate in the name of the Revocable Living Trust.
Speaker 3 (16:17)
And boom, it passes outside approving.
Speaker 2 (16:21)
It seems like everybody should have a Revocable Living Trust. I mean, it just makes so much sense.
Speaker 3 (16:30)
So often people come to me because they experienced a horrible situation. I just went through my mother’s Probate process and so I want to get this done. I just went through my brother’s Probate and I want to get this done right. This past month, for whatever reason, I’ve had two people come to me who had experiences with Revocable Living Trust. I just did my brother, sadly, my brother passed away, but he had a Revocable Living Trust. This is out in Arizona, a had Revocable Living Trust. And it was so easy that I looked at my wife and I said, we need one of these. And then this other woman comes to me and she’s like, we just did my mom’s estate. She passed away and we just tied up her estate in four months. It was so easy because she had a Revocable Living Trust. I want one. So if you ever have experience with one of them. You see how seamless they work.
Speaker 2 (17:27)
Angela, this show goes by so fast because we have so much fun. And you know what? I hope maybe next week we can follow up with some things that you can do to prevent your estate from going into court. There’s a lot of things that people can do but probably the easiest and best way is call Angela, give everybody your phone number.
Speaker 3 (17:56)
215-6452-415. And my website is giampololaw.com and my [email protected].
Speaker 2 (18:06)
What about any social media platforms you’re on?
Speaker 3 (18:09)
Yes, so on Instagram as @yourga lawyer, Facebook Philly Gay Lawyer and my firm Giampolo Law Grou. Obviously LinkedIn just look me up now.
Speaker 2 (18:20)
I know you’re a rock star in Philadelphia now. Angela will be back with us next week.
Speaker 3 (18:26)
Yes, absolutely. Bye.
Speaker 1 (18:29)
Be sure to tune in every Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. When Angela Giampolo is the guest on ask the experts on 860 wwdbam and online at wwwbam you.