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You are listening to an excerpt from Ask the Experts on Talk 860 WWDB AM with weekly guest, LGBTQ legal expert Angela Giampolo.

Today’s Topics:

  • What supersedes a will?
  • What happens if someone passes away without a will?
  • What a durable power of attorney is, how important it is to have the right one, and how that can affect your will and the family you leave behind.
  • And most importantly, why estate planning is for everyone, not just the rich, and how easy it is to make a will when you come to the Giampolo Law Group.

Be sure to tune in every Tuesday at 10:00 AM when Angela Giampolo is the guest on Ask The Experts on 860 WWDB AM and online at WWDBAM.com

Speaker 1:
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I called HUD and filed a complaint against my building manager.

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Fair housing, the law is on your side. To learn more, visit hud.gov/fairhousing. If you fear from safety, call 9-1-1. A public service message from HUD in partnership with the National Fair Housing Alliance.

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It’s [inaudible 00:00:22]. It’s still dark outside. Your heart starts to be really, really fast. You’ve never done anything so hard in your life. [inaudible 00:00:24].

Speaker 4:
I began feel that there was no way I was not going to have my [inaudible 00:00:44].

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It takes special strength, courage, and desire to do this.

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I was just thinking I’m so close. I’m so close. When I finished, I was like, I’m done. I did it. The moment I will never forget is when this [inaudible 00:01:03] that I admire so much comes up to me straight in front of me, [00:01:10] on my shoulder and said, ” Good morning [inaudible 00:01:23].”

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[inaudible 00:01:23]

Speaker 6:
My daughter [Brianna 00:01:24] is here at St. Jude. Coming here was literally life or death and was so scary. But St. Jude is fighting for one goal, like this one mission, life. That gave us hope. We haven’t received a [inaudible 00:01:42] S. Jude, then I can just focus on what’s best for [inaudible 00:01:48].

Speaker 1:
Finding cures, saving children. Learn more at stjude.org.

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Mr. Roger said, “Look for the helpless [inaudible 00:01:56] find people who are helping.” Thank you to all the first responders who put their lives in danger to help us and our brothers and sisters [inaudible 00:02:15]. We look out for the helpers because they look out for us.

Children:
Thank you first responders.

Speaker 2:
Help us help first responders in your community today. Go to firstrcf.org to learn more. [inaudible 00:02:22] Burlington, Philadelphia.

Speaker 10:
The following program is sponsored by Ask The Experts. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect the [inaudible 00:02:44] of the station, its management or [inaudible 00:02:44] group. Ask The Experts show sponsored by the Cardamone Law Firm for injured workers. Now sit back for [inaudible 00:02:49] experts in health, financial and [inaudible 00:02:56], wealth management, family law, estate planning, [inaudible 00:02:59] management and law. Call in now [inaudible 00:03:01] question [inaudible 00:03:01]. Now les welcome our host, Steve O.

Steve:
Good morning Philadelphia. I love Tuesdays. Tuesdays mean our Philadelphia show here on 860 AM. Every Tuesday from 10:00 to 11:00, I am so blessed to be able to bring some of Philadelphia’s top experts and boy, do we have one who we are lucky enough to have with us every Tuesday at 10 o’clock. One of Philadelphia’s finance attorneys. Let me welcome you to Angela Giampolo. Good morning [crosstalk 00:03:55].

Angela:
To the week Steve.

Steve:
You look wonderful today. So they don’t know that we get to see them, get to see each other.

Angela:
I know. We get this treat.

Steve:
Yes. You and I have talked a lot about this show and I love the fact that you’re going to be expanding into other states, but tell people, how did you get to the point where you are right now with your firm?

Angela:
Of course. About 13 years ago, I had just gotten back from working overseas. I thought I was going to do international law, international human rights law, and decided after working in human trafficking and in genocide, that it was not something that I could do and continue to be human. That to do that work requires a sense of becoming callous to that work. So moved back to the US and looked to figure out what I was going to do. I wasn’t sure if I… At that point I had worked in government and I had worked at NGOs and I had worked at nonprofits and I had worked at large firms, mid firms. And so I had no idea what I wanted to do.

Angela:
At that point, the human rights issue of the United States was upon other minority statuses as well. But for me, identifying as a lesbian, it was LGBTQ law. And so I had an experience with a gay couple and something that they went through and it dawned on me then that the LGBTQ community needed legal representation for all of their legal needs, not just the ones that spur off a legal need because we’re LGBTQ, but we also own businesses. We own real estate. We slip fall, we go bankrupt and we’re discriminated against at work and we need wills. And so Giampolo Law Group was born to serve the LGBTQ community and Philly Gay Lawyer was born as an advocate.

Steve:
Well, you have certainly done a great job with it. Today, a very important area is estate planning. There is so much to know, and if you’re listening in the car today, you might be even listening online, we have so many people who listen online. This is a very important show. What Angela wants to do is educate the public and to show people that you know what? There is a light at the end of the tunnel. We’re going to be talking about wills and estate planning today. One of the things we’re going to talk about is what supersedes a will, a simple will?

Angela:
Right. Obviously everyone needs a will. Not everyone needs a trust, but everyone needs a will. It’s the only document that can nominate your executor or appoint a guardian if you have children. But there are certain estate planning pools that supersede the will, and that is beneficiary designations. If you have life insurance, if you have stock bonds, 401(k)s, mainly financial products, those have beneficiary designations. If you filled out the beneficiary designation form, you have to go back and look at and make sure that they reflect what you want. Because even if you come to me for estate planning… This happened with a client of mine, we caught it through the estate planning process, but she came to me, she was about to retire from the EPA, Environmental Protection Agency.

Angela:
She hadn’t updated her beneficiary designations for her 401(k), or any of her work related stuff since she got hired at 22 years old, and she was coming to me at retirement. It was her mother listed for everything as her beneficiary, as opposed to her wife, which ultimately the beneficiary designation supersedes the will. No matter what you would’ve put in the will, in that particular instance her beneficiary designation at 22, or this happens a lot with divorces. People they’re so focused on getting divorced, that they get divorced and they forget to update their beneficiary designations. They meet someone else, they get remarried and then something tragic happens and everything goes to the act. Just remember beneficiary designations supersede the will.

Steve:
Angela, why do people think that you have to be a millionaire to have a will?

Angela:
Because we call it estate planning, unfortunately. There’s no better word for it that I can come up with that people would recognize or know. I used to call it family planning, but then they thought they needed a family so they wouldn’t come for estate planning. And so then it’s called estate planning traditionally, and then people don’t come because they don’t have an estate. You do not have to be a Vanderbilt. If anything, the more wealthy someone is then typically the more advisors they have around them, and the more things are all packaged up in a nice little bow. It’s the middle class. It’s the non super wealthy people that run into the most problems without having proper documents in place. Document planning, people wouldn’t come for that because that sounds super boring. It all sounds super boring, but I promise you I make it fun.

Angela:
But yeah, a lot of people think that they need to be a Vanderbilt or a Carnegie in order to do this, and you don’t. People also think, I’m too young, or I have debt. Worse than not being wealthy, I have debt. Well, I have seen so many people straddle their loved ones with debt because they didn’t take care of it properly in life. It may mean if you’re full of debt and no wealth, it may mean that you need this more than someone who’s wealthy.

Angela:
The big things that trigger estate planning are the purchase of a home, is a big one because in this country we’re founded on the inalienable right to own land. And so the minute that we own land, we need some way to pass it on. Land ownership, children. And then just really be becoming an adult. Do you want your parents being the defacto decision maker for your healthcare decisions, your legal financial decisions, if not, if there’s a best friend, a friend or a boyfriend, girlfriend, a committed partner and even a spouse. We don’t waive our HIPAA rights by virtue of being married so you still need those documents.

Steve:
Let’s say a person owns a house, they don’t have a will, and they suddenly pass away. What happens if they don’t have a will?

Angela:
Right. Again, their relationship status matters there. If they’re married, there’s the default that everything goes to the spouse regardless of how you have it titled.

Steve:
Of course.

Angela:
But even there, depending on whether it’s a first marriage, second marriage, not necessarily. In a second marriage that would not be the default per se, especially if there are children from the previous marriage. But let’s just take a 29 year old who has a committed partner, girlfriend, and he passes away. I actually had this [inaudible 00:11:45] recently. We had a 42 year old pass away suddenly, single, but in a committed relationship with a man. Had a house and all of the 401(k)s and the life insurance and what have you. Without a will, everything went up to the mother and ultimately her boyfriend of six years was effectively disinherited. He had been contributing to the mortgage every month. He hadn’t helped with the down payment, but he added a roof deck, which we know Philly’s full of roof decks. And so he had put about 30 grand into the home and had been, like I said, contributing to the mortgage and the carry costs, but was effectively disinherited from everything.

Steve:
Wow.

Angela:
Had she been alive, that is not what she would’ve wanted to have happened. The family was super nice and paid him back for everything that he put into the home. But as we know in Philadelphia-

Steve:
That’s not the norm, is it?

Angela:
Well, that’s not the norm, but he also wanted more than just what he paid into the home. He wanted the home. He had to go find somewhere else to live because they sold the house. But they sold the house. They paid him back for what he put in. He had to get taxed on that money though. All around, it was the best scenario that we could have asked for because the family was nice and not the norm, but it’s not at all what would’ve happened had you had a will.

Steve:
It’s so important to have a will.

Angela:
Absolutely.

Steve:
It doesn’t take long to come in and sit down with you, does it?

Angela:
It doesn’t take long. It’s not expensive. My meeting before you, before this show, was someone who is very to the point and busy and she’s like, “All right, what’s my investment, both time and money.” It was the first question. And so time wise, money wise, the answer to that, I charge flat fee for everything. With a quick call I can tell you exactly what someone’s flat fee is. But time wise, I about three hours of dedicated time over the course of a couple of weeks. People coming to me or come to me, and by the end of that month we’re doing their final signing. In terms of time intensive on the client, there’s not a lot of time. It’s a couple of meetings. I have what I need to do, what I need to do and then we go to the final signing.

Steve:
Angela, isn’t that sad, that something so important that a time limit is put on it? The money part I can understand, but the time limit, because this is something so important, and I always bring up Prince because here’s a guy who had millions of dollars and did not even have a will with all of his advisors around him.

Angela:
Right. I’m forgetting the name of the actor from Fast & Furious who passed away. His daughter just got married Vin Diesel walked her down. Josh Walker, Paul Walker. Paul Walker [crosstalk 00:14:35]. Yeah. But I get it though. I get the time, both the investment and time and money, I get the time component because I’ve been doing this for so long. I remember pre COVID and if anything I feel like COVID has opened people up to this process because they don’t have to get in the car drive so they don’t have to leave work. First of all think about it. People don’t want to make an appointment during their work week, leave work, miss time at work, to make an appointment around potentially dying at some point.

Steve:
Yes.

Angela:
If you get sued, if you get served divorce papers, then, yes, you’re making an appointment, you’re leaving work because there’s an urgency around it. I’ve been sued. I have 30 days to answer there. The urgency has been created. Around potentially dying some day, the urgency is low despite the consequence of not getting it done being high. We’re humans. We have a threshold of urgency and known consequence and getting it done at that particular point. People used to have to make an appointment during the week, leave work, hop in the car, drive, commute to me, park, potentially get a parking ticket, spend an hour with me, then get back in the car, see said parking ticket, get mad, drive back to work and then have to get into a flow of getting back to work and being productive. We’re talking about a two to three hour interruption during their work day.

Angela:
And so I used to work evenings and every Saturday because people didn’t want to have to do that. Their time investment to talk about something that they know will happen eventually but they don’t know when, now with COVID people don’t want to leave work. We hop on Zoom, they’re sitting in their office, and the only thing that has to be in person, some of my older clients still prefer to meet you person. I have days designated for in person meetings, but otherwise the majority, I’d say 80%, prefer virtual and then our final signing is when we meet each other in person.

Steve:
Hey, listen, people, you can tell Angela is very, very busy and there’s a reason for that. She is so good at what she does. We’re going to go to break, Angela, give everybody your phone number at the office.

Angela:
Sure. Give me a call at 215-645-2415.

Steve:
Don’t you have a podcast?

Angela:
I do. It’s called Out Boss Talk. It’s geared towards LGBTQ business owners, bosses that are out in the world and I’ll be starting a YouTube channel that’ll be coming up probably next month called the [inaudible 00:17:24] show.

Steve:
This is like in your spare time, right?

Angela:
Exactly in all my spare time.

Steve:
We’re going to go to break. We’re here talking to attorney Angela Giampolo, and we’ll be right back with more.

Speaker 2:
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. A properly structured trust will avoid putting your loved ones through the expensive, lengthy, and emotionally draining court probate process. Most important you can prevent some or all of your assets from being subject to a state law upon your death, allowing more of your estate to be enjoyed by your loved ones. 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. Giampolo Law Group can help you establish or reorganize your estate plan to address your concerns while accounting for the complexities in state and federal laws.

Speaker 2:
The attorneys at Giampolo Law Group are experienced in assisting clients with estate planning, specifically in preparing or revising wills, trusts, and the other ancillary documents, such as powers of attorney and hospital visitation forms. Contact Giampolo Law Group today for a complimentary consultation, 215-398-6579. Remember, where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Speaker 2:
You are listening to the Ask The Expert show sponsored by the Cardamone Law Firm for injured workers. Now here’s your host, Steve O. and his expert guest.

Steve:
We’re back. This is the Ask The Expert show. I’m your host, Steve O. We’re here every Tuesday from 10:00 to 11:00. This is our fourth year with 860 AM, and we will be around for a long time. Afterwards, we bring you Philadelphia’s finest, law doctors, financial people, home improvement, and we’re here with Attorney Angela Giampolo. We’re talking about LGBTQ law and we’re actually talking about estate planning. There are days that we talk about family law, but today’s estate planning. Angela, I want to ask you, what is a durable power of attorney?

Angela:
A durable power of attorney, we were talking about wills earlier and what supersedes a will, and the durable power of attorney is where you appoint the person who’s going to make legal and financial decisions for you in life, should you be unable or even if you should be able, but you’re unable. So you’re able to make the decisions, but you’re incapable in that moment. You’re of sound mind, but you’re just unable to be present. A durable power of attorney never expires. It expires at death and then the will kicks in. You’ll see a lot of the same powers enumerated in a durable power of attorney that you’ll see in the last will in testament. Because the same person who is your executor and who needs to live out all of those legal and financial decisions for your estate, when you pass, that person also needs to do that should you become incapacitated in life. That durable power of attorney plays that same role.

Angela:
But the important piece there is to remember that the durable power of attorney two things, A, it never expires. Unlike a last will and testament, where for every new last will and testament that you execute your essentially rescinding and rendering null and void, your previous last will and testament. When I’ve entered into people’s homes to find the will, and I’m looking for the last will and testament, and I find three last will and testaments, one from ’99, one from 2008 and one from 2021, by default, each one rendered the other one null and void. But with durable powers of attorney, they never expire. If your relationship ends, or if you have a falling out with that person or that person passes away, or that person moves and just no longer wants to serve as your durable power of attorney, you must revoke it in writing.

Angela:
That writing, you have to prove that your agent received it. So proof of revocation, proof of it actually being received. That’s key. Nobody knows that [crosstalk 00:21:53].

Steve:
According to the courts?

Angela:
According to the courts. According to the statute, really. According to the statute that governs Act 95, that governs powers of attorney, it must be in writing and it must be actually received by your agent. Proof of receipt, [inaudible 00:22:08] card, email and receipts are not enough at this point. Pennsylvania allows for two types of powers of attorney, springing power of attorney and effective powers of attorney. I only do effective. I’ve only in 15 years done one springing power of attorney. You’re already paying all this money to come to me to get these documents. If I did a springing power of attorney that springs into effect upon the occurrence of an event, which is typically disability, incapacity.

Angela:
But to prove that that occurred, to prove that your incapacity occurred or that your disability occurred, we need a testation of your disability by a physician. There’s months could go by for us to get the proper proof that you are in fact incapacitated. You have a power of attorney, but they can’t serve because we still need the writing from your physician that you are in fact, that the event has occurred, that we have sprung into. I don’t like that. I don’t like having to prove that. There are certain business situations where that’s okay, but I like effective upon notarization. But with that is great power. It’s effective upon notarization so your power of attorney, you’re completely of sound mind, but they could go to the bank and borrow money on your behalf. They could enter a safety deposit box on your behalf. They could sell your home on your behalf.

Angela:
You are literally choosing someone that can step into your shoes legally and that is a big deal, for lack of a better word so you need to trust, pun intended, you need to trust the person that you’re appointing as your power of attorney. There are ways that we can safeguard these documents. I hold on to them. We do three originals. We can hold on to them in the offsite firm safe. You don’t need them until you need them, so if you need them, you call me, or if you’re incapacitated your person comes to me.

Steve:
Hope I got this name right. Terri Schiavo?

Angela:
Terri Schiavo, close. Yeah. The Terri Schiavo situation. Yep.

Steve:
Did she have a durable power of attorney?

Angela:
She didn’t. She had nothing. The Terri Schiavo situation is what got me passionate about LGBTQ estate planning to the point that I trademark, where there’s a will there’s a way.

Steve:
I love that.

Angela:
Yeah. I’m very, very passionate about it. Here was a straight couple, legally married long before we thought marriage equality was a thing for the LGBTQ community. Straight couple, legally married, but they didn’t have these documents in place. Everybody thinks, oh, I’m married, I don’t need those documents.

Steve:
Right.

Angela:
Okay. No, you do not waive your HIPAA rights by virtue of marriage, your partner, your spouse is not automatically your healthcare power of attorney, especially if there is litigation or if there’s something contested. She had apparently told her husband multiple times over pillow talk that she did not want to be kept on life support. That her wishes were to pull the plug politically speaking, to have no extraordinary measures. But the mom disagreed and the mom said she had different conversations with Terry and that’s not exactly what Terry wanted. The accident happened in Florida, the mom lived in Florida, the lawsuit happened in Florida and she was on life support for 12 years. Apparently, despite, against rather her wishes. No, they were married couple but they did not have any of these documents in place.

Steve:
This is why it’s so important.

Angela:
Absolutely.

Steve:
People think they’re going to live forever.

Angela:
Well, I’m dealing… As of today it has been resolved, but it was a week long potential litigation that was taking place where husband and wife hated each other, together for 60 years, but legally married, but actively hated each other. The husband created a will, appointed his daughter as executor, and his wishes were to be buried in the country, in his home country next to his mother. Okay, because he spent 60 years with his wife and he didn’t want to spend eternity next to her. He put a will in place for, and knew that the wife would disagree, so appointed his daughter as executrix, is what we call female executor. In his disposition of remains in the will said, “I wish to be buried in this other country next to my mother.”

Angela:
Sure enough he passed. The wife contested it said, “No, he’s being buried right here in Philadelphia next to me.”The funeral director didn’t know what to do. I don’t know why, but didn’t know what to do. And so I had to pull out the law. She had to contact Harrisburg, the governing board of the funeral director, of all funeral directors and she submitted the will, submitted my memo of law, and asked Harrisburg what she should do. Clearly it was, listen to what is in writing. Here we have a decedent who knew that people alive would not listen to what he wanted to have happened, so he went so far as to put it in writing in a will. Despite being married, if you put that in writing that is contrary intent, and despite the default of your spouse having complete sole authority over your remains, your will will govern. In this case, the last will and testament govern. As of today, he’s off flying to Jamaica, going to his final resting place.

Steve:
Well, we’ve come to end the show and Angela will be back with us. This is just such a important show to do and I’m so glad we have you. Give everybody your phone number.

Angela:
Sure. Phone number is 215-645-2415. I also blog at phillygaylawyer.com. Feel free to check out the blog. Like I said, the-

Steve:
How about your website?

Angela:
Oh yeah. The website, the most important thing. Giampololaw, my last name, giampololaw.com.

Steve:
About your podcast?

Angela:
Yep. Out Boss Talk. All things entrepreneurship. If you’re a boss, feel free to reach out to me if you want to be on the podcast.

Steve:
Thank you so much Angela, and like I said, Angela will be back with us. Thank you so much. We’re going to go to break and we come back we have Michael Cardamone, Attorney Michael Cardamone. Thanks Angela.

Angela:
Always a pleasure Steve. Take care.

Steve:
Bye-bye.

Angela:
Bye.

Steve:
We’ll be back with more Ask The Experts.

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