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 we continue with more estate planning information you need to know, such as:
- Why it’s important to included a family member in the estate planning process.
- Choosing who should have power of attorney, and why it shouldn’t be your lawyer.
- The differences between durable power of attorney, effective power of attorney and springing power of attorney, and the functions of each.
- What to know about estate planning BEFORE you get married.
- The definition of “tenants by the entireties” and why it’s important.
Speaker 1 (00:01)
Welcome to another episode of Ask The Experts on Talk 860 Wwdbam with weekly guest LGBTQ legal expert Angela Giampolo. This week we continue with more estate planning information you need to know, such as how important it is to include a family member in the estate planning process, the differences between durable power of attorney, effective power of attorney, and springing power of attorney, and the functions of each and the definition of tenants by the entireties and why it’s important.
Speaker 2 (00:39)
And good morning, Philadelphia. Welcome to another Ask the Expert Show where we bring you the top experts in the Philadelphia market in health, legal, financial and home improvement. Were with you every Tuesday. Let me welcome you to the Show Expert. She’s with us every Tuesday at 10:00. Attorney Angela Giampolo. Good morning, Angela.
Speaker 3 (01:04)
Good morning, Steve. How are you?
Speaker 2 (01:06)
I got to always ask you now, what city are you in?
Speaker 3 (01:09)
I am in Austin, Texas. South by Southwest.
Speaker 2 (01:13)
That’s my college I went to.
Speaker 3 (01:15)
Oh, really? Yeah.
Speaker 2 (01:16)
University of Texas.
Speaker 3 (01:18)
I’ve never been to Austin, but, yeah, I’m here for south by south by Southwest.
Speaker 2 (01:23)
It’s beautiful there. Well, I got to tell you, Angela and I do this little show prep before the show, and we had all these things that we wanted to talk about last week. And I’m like Mrs. Kravitz on Bewitched. I’m so nosy. I have to know everything about Angela. I’m not going to do that today. But we’re talking estate planning. And Angela is one of the finest attorneys, especially for the LBGTQ community. And this is what we try to do every week is to educate you. And I think we’re doing a good job because our numbers keep growing for our show. So good morning, Angela. Tell everybody about our show. Your firm.
Speaker 3 (02:14)
Yeah. And I even forget what we were going to talk about last week. But whatever it is, I’m sure we made good decisions. So Giampolo Law Group has been in existence now for going on more years than I care to count. But I originally thought that I was going to be an international human rights attorney and quickly realized that that was not for me. And so I came back to the US and didn’t know what I wanted to do in that time period, about seven months of sort of vacillating, like, what is it that I want to do? And just having dinner and drinks with a gay couple friend of mine and their legal issues that only stems from the fact that they were gay living in the United States where marriage wasn’t legal and no discrimination protection. They were business owners. And it just quickly dawned on me that the human rights issue, one of the human rights issues in the United States at the time and very much still is LGBTQ rights. So it was a way for me to get out sort of this innate desire for me to help humanity by virtue of helping humans.
Speaker 3 (03:41)
But instead of on an international scale, right here in the United States and back then on a micro level in Pennsylvania and in New Jersey, the Giampolo Law group was born that evening. The idea came to me like a flash, and my office has been in the heart of the neighborhood ever since. And I also created Philly Gay Lawyer as sort of a separate advocacy brand. So Philly Gay Lawyer is what is me doing, what I do. And Giampolo Law Group is the firm that is available to everyone. We talk about this all the time, that if you’re listening and you’re a straight person and you think I’m awesome, you can absolutely call and I will.
Speaker 2 (04:25)
Speaker 3 (04:26)
And I will service you. And so that’s Giampolo Law Group, the law firm for everyone in Philly Gay Lawyer, is the human dedicated specifically for LGBT.
Speaker 2 (04:37)
I want to just throw this in. I got to tell you, because I talked to people who have retained lawyers. I got to tell you, what’s so great about retaining you as a lawyer is you really do care. And I know we just don’t even think about that, but it is important because I get so much feedback. Oh, my lorry would never get back with me, and I never knew, and I wasn’t happy with the results. You really do care, do.
Speaker 3 (05:11)
I mean, I was laughing. You say that because it sounds so weird that we have to say that. Yes, but yeah, it’s true. My clients, without fail, become friends. Like, right before this, I hopped on with 30 seconds left to go. I’m sure the production room was like, where is it? But I’ll always be here. I’ll never not show without telling you that I’m on a plane or something. But, yeah, it was a new client meeting. And in an hour and 15 minutes, everything that we talked about and down to how she grew up and just hopes, dreams, what she wants for her daughter, especially estate planning that was in an estate planning meeting. But, you know, the end deliverable of estate planning is simply paper. Like, you’re coming to me. And at the end of the process of four to six weeks, and however much money, the literal deliverable is just a bunch of paper. However, the amount of vulnerability and exposing of your entire life that you have to do with me in order for those documents to be effective, that’s where the rubber meets the road. Too many people, too many lawyers treat it like, okay, come to me.
Speaker 3 (06:42)
Tell me what you need. Control F for place word processing documents. Here are your papers, here’s your deliverable. Pay me X transaction done. And the way that I have always come at it differently is I don’t view it as a transaction. I view it as like you’re really sharing everything with me. And then I’m becoming a personal family lawyer for years to come. With whatever happens to come your way in life. So, yeah. To come full circle. I care. And it’s weird that we have to say that.
Speaker 2 (07:14)
I know. Hey, Angela, I’m going to tell you something. It’s probably going to shock you a little bit. We’ve been doing this for a couple of years now, and I’ve learned so much about you, about your practice, about the LGBTQ community. I got to tell you, a great day would be when you have to be board certified to handle LGBTQ clients, because I told you last week, a lot of people just stick that up there and they know nothing. You know so much about this, but there’s only one of you. So I think someday that they should make this law board certified. And you know what I mean by that, right?
Speaker 3 (08:06)
Yeah. Like, there’s within estate planning, there’s additional certifications that you get that you can add that say, I took these extra courses. Same with on the financial planning side.
Speaker 2 (08:21)
There’s additional family laws like that.
Speaker 3 (08:23)
Also family law, right? Certified family planners, certified family law within divorce and then collaboration, collaborative divorce and whatnot. So totally agreed.
Speaker 2 (08:37)
You could probably teach the course.
Speaker 3 (08:39)
There you go. That will be how I go about multiplying myself and involving.
Speaker 2 (08:44)
I want to jump in. We’re talking estate planning today. And so the first thing I want to talk to you about is about people, including their family, their children, their friends, and estate planning. And I want to know what your views are on that.
Speaker 3 (09:04)
And again, this came up in the very last call where her daughter is going to be the primary decision maker for everything for her should anything happen. And she even said there’s nothing she doesn’t know about me. And we had all of these conversations and what have you. And that is a newer phenomenon. Her age range in her 50s, that’s a newer phenomenon. Her mom, her dad, that age range did not have these conversations openly with their children or often choose children. They would maybe choose their accountant or their lawyer or what have you as the executor these other decision making roles. And it’s just so important to have open and honest conversation with your family, friends, not just with the people that you’re choosing to play roles, but also who you plan on leaving things to and why. Again, in particular, she has a lot of tangible personal property, artwork and of artists that are kind of well known, but not anyone that you would know if you’re just a human in the world. So leaving that information down to educate your beneficiaries after the fact. But all too often, I mean, not too much, because typically when someone passes and they come to me, they were a client previously.
Speaker 3 (10:36)
So I made them have these conversations. But if someone finds me on Google and says, my mom died a couple of weeks ago and I have no idea what she owns. Well, that’s annoying. I have one situation now. They’ve spent over $5,000 in searching for a $400,000 wine cellar somewhere in New York. She knows her husband had a wine cellar and that there was anywhere from $400 to $600,000 worth of wine. They can’t find any paperwork on the wine cellar in terms of paying the annual fee to keep the wine there. There’s a ton of wine cellars in New York. I have my assistant just Googling and creating a spreadsheet of all wine sellers and then making a call to each and every wine cellar in the state of New York to try to find this needle in a haystack, which could be worth a half a million dollars, all because the guy never talked about it or wrote it down.
Speaker 2 (11:34)
He’s hiding it, right?
Speaker 3 (11:36)
Well, he didn’t hide it well enough because everyone knows it exists. And every Christmas he would show up with a $400 bottle from said wine cellar. But we don’t know where it is. So it’s great to come to me and get these documents. But if the people who have to live out your decisions and your wishes don’t know what it is that you have or what it is that you want, then the documents are not that effective.
Speaker 2 (12:05)
We talked a little bit last week about power of attorney, and I wanted to ask you a question. So they could either make you give you the power of attorney to make decisions, or they could give it to friends. But friends get in fights sometimes, and I would just think it’s better just to let you, as their attorney, handle that and tell me if I’m wrong. But people get into it sometimes, right?
Speaker 3 (12:36)
So you’re kind of wrong on that. Being someone’s power of attorney can be a full time job. And so at least with me in particular to play that for multiple clients, that would end up being a whole nother job. And durable powers of attorneys should not charge. They’re not supposed to charge to do what they do. It’s not like being an executor, and it’s not like being a trustee. So it would be unethical for me to charge my clients to be their power of attorney. And then I would not have any bandwidth to actually work because I would be the durable power of attorney, living for 20 other people and not being able to. So there are companies out there that become certified in how to be a fiduciary, but they’re not a lawyer. And since the person has no relationship to this company, the fee part is allowed. Right. And so if anyone’s ever seen that, the Netflix movie that sort of made this popular, and it’s called I Care a Lot, and it’s really good. It shows the bad side of powers of attorney, but it’s this woman who basically makes a business out of being old people’s powers of attorney that have no other family, rich people. So she tracks down rich old individuals that have no family, becomes their Guardian, and then steals all their money. But that is her whole job. So there are companies that play that role for people, but lawyers, accountants, financial advisors, we can’t do that. I’ve played that role for a handful of clients, and they were very, very good friends or became good friends over the years. And I knew the time that it would take to play that role, and it fit within like it would be no different than if I was a really good friend of theirs. And I made the choice to do it as their friend, not as their lawyer, because, again, I can’t charge for them now. But let’s go to where you are right, which is that people get into it. In all of my years, there have been two clients that ended up going to a different lawyer because I refused to budge on this. I don’t do co anything. I don’t do co powers of attorney. So, Steve, if you wanted me and your buddy John to be your powers of attorney, we wouldn’t be co powers of attorney.
Speaker 3 (15:17)
We wouldn’t have to agree on anything. You would choose a primary. So either you’d say, Angela, I trust you implicitly. You are my power of attorney. And if you’re unable or unwilling, then John steps in. So it doesn’t matter if John and I agree on anything, because I’m the power of attorney. I get to make all the decisions until I choose to resign or I’m unable or I’m unwilling, what have you. Then John kicks in. But just knowing that you’re asking someone to live for you financially and legally in every sense of the word, because you are unable to do so yourself, again, because this is for people listening with Pennsylvania and New Jersey and not all states around the country have this, but Pennsylvania and New Jersey allow for two different types of powers of attorney. One is called a springing power of attorney, and the other one is an effective power of attorney. And the effective POA is exactly what it sounds like. It’s effective upon notarization, which means I am alive and well right now sitting in Austin, Texas, about to go to South By and do conference things all day, and all of a sudden I find out that there was a flood, my water heater, whatever broke, and there’s 5ft of water in my basement, and I need immediate water remediation to the tune of $10,000.
Speaker 3 (16:47)
I can call my DPOA. He can take an original DPOA, go to the bank, get into my bank account, transfer ten grand, and live for me as me. Effective upon notarization. You have to trust the people. That because that person could also go to the bank and refinance and take out a loan on my home. They could enter a safety deposit box while I’m over here in Austin. They could sell my house while I’m here in Austin. So the effective powers of attorney I only use for spouses generally, but we have that. And then there’s springing powers of attorney, which is just like it sounds. It springs into effect upon the occurrence of an event, and that event is typically disability. So you signed it and it doesn’t go into effect until the event springs into occurrence. And so now you’re disabled. The problem is a big word, but the issue there, or the external factor or the rub that we need to deal with there is that you have to have a physician sign off, that the person is disabled, like someone has to approve or sign off on. Okay. The condition has sprung into effect.
Speaker 3 (18:05)
You don’t just get to decide that. So a social worker. Yes. Angela is no longer of sound mind or a physician. Yes. Angela is in an irreversible coma. Then the DPOA kicks in. So you’ve paid to get the document drafted, and then you’ll likely have to wait three to six months and pay more money to get the document to be effective. So springing can be difficult sometimes or at least just take longer for it to go into effect. And then the effective is immediate upon notarization.
Speaker 2 (18:35)
We’re talking about estate planning, and mainly we’re talking about as it pertains to the family. So I just brought up about wedding bells before and after. There must be so much to know.
Speaker 3 (18:52)
Yeah. On a macro level, because again, from an LGBTQ perspective, we’ve only been allowed wedding bells for the last six years. So that if you have estate planning done prior to marriage, you definitely need to update it, because there’s a whole slew of estate planning tools that can only be used for married people, which is ultimately what we fought about and fought for all those years was all of the tax saving provisions within the Internal Revenue Code and whatnot. So if you are unmarried, were unmarried and in a couple in a relationship and then got married, you need to absolutely update your documents, potentially even the deed to your home, because there are three ways in which you can own property. One is tenants in common, which is if Steve and I went in on a condo in Fort Lauderdale as an Airbnb or something, we would own it. Tenants in common where his half goes through his estate plan and my half goes to my estate plan, and we’re just real estate investors in the world. Then there’s joint tenants with right of survivorship, and that is for unmarried people. But Steve and I have been dating for twelve years and we don’t believe in marriage and we’re together and we own four properties.
Speaker 3 (20:13)
Joint tenants with right of survivorship. That means when one of us dies, it automatically goes to the other whether we have a will or not. So that’s what gay people were using for years prior to forever prior to marriage equality. And then there’s tenants by the entirety, which is only available to married couples. And it has to say tenants by the entirety. So just because you’re married doesn’t automatically mean that you leave it to someone tenants by the entirety. But if you own property before marriage equality, you absolutely have to update your deed for that. And from the estate planning perspective, it will say domestic partner or friend or significant other. And we want to update that for spouse and then include also the additional state planning tools that I can’t do for unmarried couples.
Speaker 2 (21:06)
So we’ve only got about three minutes. But I’m sure there’s negatives and positives to each. Tell me what your thoughts are when you’re sitting down with a client and explaining which way they should go in.
Speaker 3 (21:24)
Terms of marriage generally, yes.
Speaker 2 (21:27)
Well, the tenant with the property.
Speaker 3 (21:33)
Tenants by the entirety if the couple is married hands down. The reason being is tenants by the entirety of is the only way that you can hold property. That is creditor protection. That has built in creditor protection. So people always come to me and say, I want to transfer my house into an LLC. I want to transfer my house into my mom’s name to get it out of my name in case I get sued. All of these weird things that people try to do to protect their real estate. Weird is not the right word, but just convoluted ways in which people try to protect their real estate. But tenants by the entirety has built in creditor protection. So if you own it in that way, I own 100% of it in any given moment, and Steve owns 100% of it in any given moment. And so if as a lawyer, I get sued by a client, a lot of doctors, a lot of lawyers, I get sued by a client and they come after all my assets. Well, the house is 100% owned by Steve. Yes, my name is on it. But because we own tenants by the entireties tenants, I own the entire thing and Steve owns the entire thing.
Speaker 3 (22:47)
So since Steve owns the entire thing as well as me, it’s not fair for the creditor to take Steve’s entire asset away from Steve. So that is what tenants by the entirety has done. Does that we fought for with marriage equality, with joint tenants, with right of survivorship, that creditor could attach to Angeles 50% of that 100% because it’s not 100% owned by me and 100% owned by Steve. It’s 50 50. And upon death, my 50 goes to Steve. But in life, a creditor could come and take my 50. And now Steve is dealing with the fact that he now is in litigation about the other 50. And you would like the sue and not at fair market value because who wants to buy something that is marred in litigation? So definitely for investors, business partners, friends who want to go in on something tenants in common and then married couple’s tenants by the entireties children, parents and siblings. If you have no kids joint tenants with right of survivorship.
Speaker 2 (24:02)
What I like about the way you handle your clients is you really try to keep them out of probate which could be really expensive and you’re always thinking about that in advance anyone has ever gone through probate probably should appreciate that.
Speaker 3 (24:19)
Yes. Probate avoidance key.
Speaker 2 (24:22)
Wow. You know what the 30 minutes goes by so fast Angela give everybody your phone number and your website address.
Speaker 3 (24:28)
215-6452-415 and you can reach me at my website giampololaw.com and I [email protected] I guess.
Speaker 2 (24:43)
Just throw this in if you’re part of which you would consider the LGBTQ community when you go to hire an attorney don’t think right? Well, who’s the best someone who understands what you’re going through and I wanted to throw that in. And angel we’re so lucky to have you. You’ll be back with us next Tuesday at 10:00.
Speaker 3 (25:09)
I can’t wait to see your face. I hope you’re feeling good.
Speaker 2 (25:11)
Yes, I’m going to be back next week. Angela thank you so much.
Speaker 1 (25:16)
Be sure to 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.