This is 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 talk about:
- The impact of COVID on estate planning, family law and life in general
- How to avoid probate nightmares when owning real estate in multiple states
- Can you disinherit a child, mother or anyone else? Under which circumstances might you need to do that?
And much more!
Speaker 1 (00:00)
You’re listening to an excerpt from Ask The Experts on Talk 860 WWAM with weekly guest LGBTQ legal expert Angela Giampolo. This week host Steve O and Angela talk about the impact of covid on estate planning, family law and life in general, how to avoid probate nightmares when owning real estate in multiple states. And can you disinherit a child, mother or anyone else? Under which circumstances might you need to do that? This week on Ask The Experts.
Speaker 2 (00:38)
Hey, good morning, Philadelphia. Welcome to another Ask The Experts show where we bring you the finest experts in the Philadelphia area in legal, health, financial and home improvement. And I know everybody is getting ready for the holidays. We want to wish our Jewish listeners happy Hanukkah. And we are so glad that you were listening to us today, and we appreciate all the emails that you send us telling us how much you love the show. I know there are types of shows you want us to add, but we are so filled up right now that we cannot add any new topics. But our first show, our first show at 10:00 every Tuesday, is with the fine attorney Angela Giampolo, who’s going to be talking about LGBTQ law. And we’re doing estate planning today. Good morning. Good morning, Steve, Ms. Giampolo. Oh, my God. Now what’s the background?
Speaker 3 (01:50)
New background, different office.
Speaker 2 (01:53)
Different office, three weeks in a row. Well, are you in town?
Speaker 3 (01:59)
I am. I am in Philadelphia. Well, you’re not even in Philly, but we had good weather all week, and then it got freezing the last couple of days.
Speaker 2 (02:10)
I won’t tell you the temperature here.
Speaker 3 (02:12)
Yes. We don’t want to know.
Speaker 2 (02:14)
We won’t go there. How are you doing? And I got to tell you, I am so in awe what you’re doing with the LGBTQ community, not just in Philadelphia, but your expansion. You are a real hero.
Speaker 3 (02:37)
Thank you. Yeah, the expansion is going really well. You will be official in Arizona in a couple of months, so that’ll be our first state. So that’s really exciting. And, yeah, it’s crazy. End of year estate planning stuff is insane. So right up until 12/31. So as long as I get through 12/31, then I usually take the first couple of weeks off in the new year and just relax. But December is always through the roof with end of year state planning.
Speaker 2 (03:09)
No kidding. Tell people how long you’ve been practicing law for?
Speaker 3 (03:16)
Yes, I’ve been practicing. I’ve had my own firm since 2008, so 13 years and then practicing since 2007. So basically, I’ve almost had my law firm the whole time. My offices are in the heart of the Gayborhood for the last eight years of those. And we’ve always been serving the LGBTQ community from the outset.
Speaker 2 (03:46)
I don’t have to tell you this, but everything you’ve done in the area of law has been to help people. And you don’t hear that very often. But that’s really everything you’ve done from the start of your career to now is always been about helping others.
Speaker 3 (04:07)
Yeah. Even within prior to my law firm and serving the LGBTQ community before that, I was going to be an international human rights lawyer and working in human trafficking and lived in Beijing and worked on human trafficking there. And then after Beijing, I moved to Tanzania and worked at the war crimes tribunal for the Rwandan genocide and helped in that. So I always joke that I help humans by working on humanity. Right. Like, there are two different types of people. There are people that focus in on humans and then people that focus in on humanity and sort of macro level issues or micro level issues. And my brain and my personality and my passion has always geared itself towards macro issues. And so human trafficking on a macro scale, genocide and more crimes against humanity on a macro scale. And then when I moved back to the US, it was LGBTQ rights on a macro scale. And I started that out regionally within Pennsylvania and New Jersey, working obviously within the LGBTQ community on a macro scale. But within the United States, two States at a 48 is technically considered micro. But I always knew that eventually I would expand nationwide and basically serve the LGBTQ community on a macro scale.
Speaker 3 (05:48)
So something like that doesn’t happen overnight. To be able to get the foundation footing, to be able to expand nationally. So it’s taken close to 15 years, but now we’re doing it.
Speaker 2 (06:03)
How has covid affected your practice?
Speaker 3 (06:08)
I think it has impacted it greatly from both estate planning and family law. I would say estate planning. Obviously, people that have not done their estate planning or that did their estate planning but decades ago and need to update it are coming to me in drones and especially November and December. From Thanksgiving through Christmas is typically the quietest time of year for estate planning because people just hunker down for the holidays and spend hundreds of dollars on a big Thanksgiving dinner and then thousands of dollars on either a holiday trip or gifts or something. But basically from Thanksgiving to New Year, it tends to be a quiet time for me and it has not been. And I think Omicron has a lot to do with that, because if just the original COVID didn’t bring people to me, then this variant that bypasses all vaccines and this and that, whatever definitely woke people up again if they didn’t already get their state planning done the first time. So it has been the busiest December that I’ve ever had in 15 years.
Speaker 2 (07:37)
It’s funny you said that because people were losing friends, we’re losing family members. But I’m seeing people who were in really good shape, maybe in their 50s, who thought they were nothing could happen to them. And now people are seeing this and I’m wondering if they’re going you know what? I don’t have a plan at all. What if it’s me tomorrow that passes away and I don’t even have a will?
Speaker 3 (08:12)
Absolutely, 100%. And that’s what people say when they call or email to make the appointment. I didn’t think it would impact me. I don’t travel for work. I barely leave the house. Whatever it is, everyone has a reason as to why they are reaching out now and didn’t reach out, let’s say a year ago today. So Covid has greatly impacted the estate planning piece, both the first go round and now with this variant. And then as far as family law goes, people are just unwilling to stay in a relationship that maybe otherwise they would settle into. I feel like with Covid and not going to work daily, we shut down. But even now that we’ve somewhat reopened, there is a lot of remote working. So the new normal is very much maybe three days a week at home or definitely a lot more flex time. So whereas, again, if the relationship sustained Covid and the lockdown, we’re now a year sort of into that or a year and a half into that. And now people’s work schedule still involved, three days of work, three days a week at home or what have you.
Speaker 3 (09:50)
And so it’s impacted relationships and my family law practice in that a people are amicably deciding, listen, this isn’t working. The key word there is amicably, whereas a couple of years ago it may not have been so amicable. And finances are also impacting the fact that it’s amicable. In other words, money is tighter. Maybe one or both have lost their job or maybe one or both have reduced hours or one or both lost their job at one point during the last two years. And so finances are tighter. So maybe they do want to hate each other, but they don’t have the money to fight about it. So either money is forcing the amicability or, you know, a lot of people have a new outlook on life. It’s like, you know what, we didn’t die. A lot of people did. We survived. We didn’t die during this pandemic. We’re alive. You’re not the ones for me now that we’re coming out of this thing and they’re really, truly treating it like a new lease on life. And it’s like, you know what, we’ve been together X amount of years and let’s just go our separate ways.
Speaker 3 (11:05)
There are worse things in life. People passed away. People had loved ones passed away. It’s just like not to make light of a divorce, but we’ve seen a lot of bad things. And so people can choose to end the relationship with integrity and just sort of move on. So I feel like there’s just a lot of amicability in the divorces that are coming my way.
Speaker 2 (11:33)
So give everybody your phone number.
Speaker 3 (11:36)
Sure. 215-6452 415.
Speaker 2 (11:40)
And your website.
Speaker 3 (11:41)
The website is www.giampololaw.com and my [email protected].
Speaker 2 (11:48)
Somebody asked me the other day, do you do anything on social media?
Speaker 3 (11:53)
Yes. So my Instagram is @yourgaylawyer and on Facebook. Philly Gay Lawyer or just my law firm, Giampolo Law.
Speaker 2 (12:02)
Angela, I love where there’s a will, there’s a way. I love that phrase. It’s so perfect for what you do.
Speaker 3 (12:16)
I mean, I just can’t believe the trademark became available. I had had an alert on the trademark for years, and in my head, I don’t know the story. So it was taken, it was trademarked for 36 years. And it doesn’t tell you by who. But when you trademark something, you trademark it by class. And so for legal services, where there’s a will, there’s a way it was trademarked. And so in my head, I’m thinking it was trademarked by a lawyer because who else would trademark this? There’s a way other than a lawyer for legal services. And then all of a sudden, after 36 years, it popped up as available. So the only thing I could think is that that person didn’t do their estate planning and didn’t pass on the trademark through their will. And it’s so common that a cobbler would not have shoes and that they would do estate planning for 50 then ultimately lose it because they didn’t have a work.
Speaker 2 (13:20)
Well, we were just talking before we went to break about owning real estate in multiplestates. Probate can get very expensive.
Speaker 3 (13:31)
Speaker 2 (13:31)
There are things that you can do to offset that. You got to go to estate planning to do it.
Speaker 3 (13:42)
Right. You have to do the estate planning in life in order to protect yourself in death, ultimately. And a lot of people will say, I don’t care, I’ll be dead. Right. And that’s just such a flippant way to think about it. Like, yeah, you’ll be dead. But there is someone that’s going to have to clean up the mess. Ultimately. These laws were written 300 years ago when we had horse and buggies, and this country was founded on the inalienable right to own land. So the laws were all founded around property ownership. Right. 300 years ago, they didn’t think that your horse and buggy would be able to get from Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, all the way down to Florida, Fort Lauderdale. Right. And I don’t know how many of my gay clients own property in Fort Lauderdale, but never in a million years when they wrote these laws, did they think that when you died 300 years ago that your horse and buggy more than once a year would ride its carriage all the way down to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. So the laws are written such that you have to go through probate in every state in which you own real estate, because, again, they never thought they would feasibly own real estate in multiple states.
Speaker 3 (15:09)
But we own real estate in San Fran, Florida. And like I said, right here in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, I own in Asbury Park, New Jersey, and you throw a rock in 15 minutes away in New Jersey or Maryland or Delaware, right. In this area. So there are a lot of people that own real estate in multiple states and don’t realize that they’ve created a probate nightmare because of that, because you’d have to go to probate in Pennsylvania in every state in which you own real estate. And so the way to avoid that very simply is called a Revocable Living Trust. So you create a Revocable Living Trust. And there are lots of different trusts out there. I always tell people there are as many trusts as there are cars. You wouldn’t help your friend move in a Mini Cooper and you wouldn’t drive cross country in a Denali. So these types of trusts are purely estate planning vehicles. A Revocable Living Trust. It has no credit or protection, no tax minimization. It’s not meant for charity. So there are tons of different trusts. But this one in particular is meant for you think real estate.
Speaker 3 (16:21)
You think trust. And so we re-title your property in the name of the trust. And then ultimately that real estate is now, let’s say you own in Asbury Park, New Jersey, and you retitled the Asbury home in the name of your Revocable Living Trust. You now own Pennsylvania property. So, yes, it’s physically located in New Jersey, but it’s legally inside of a Pennsylvania trust. So when you die and I read your Pennsylvania Trust, you only own Pennsylvania property because that New Jersey home is in your PA trust.
Speaker 2 (16:56)
So why don’t more people do a Revocable Living Trust?
Speaker 3 (17:05)
They think it sounds complicated. They think it’s more expensive than it is. They hear the word trust and they think complicated, expensive, all of the things. Yeah, I mean, that’s all I can say.
Speaker 2 (17:23)
But really, it’s a great vehicle, though, to keep you out of the probate course, which becomes very expensive.
Speaker 3 (17:33)
Absolutely. The costs are fractional in terms of what you would pay to include it in your estate plan in life versus what your state will have to pay after the fact. And then ultimately that’s taken away from your beneficiaries.
Speaker 2 (17:49)
Before the show, Angela and I spoke about what we were going to talk about today. And one of the things that you said you wanted to talk about is, can you disinherit a child mother or anyone else, for that matter? Do people actually disinherit their child?
Speaker 3 (18:12)
People do, especially within the LGBTQ community. If someone did have a child, they were probably in a straight relationship. People do disinherit family members, even children, because if they did have a child, they were probably in a straight relationship. And then when they came out and divorced their spouse and they had a child, a lot of my clients, that child disowned them. Ultimately, they’re angry that their father came out as gay when they are 21 years old. Or they’re angry that their mother is a lesbian or whatever. A lot of my clients don’t have great relationships with their children, with their family members, especially siblings. We will put in for the purposes of this last will and testament, my brother John has predeceased me. So it’s called you are dead to me clause or just a predeceases clause where I’m reading the will and John is alive. But for the purposes of this last will and testament, John is considered to have predeceased. So within the LGBTQ community, there are a lot of hostile family relationships that we have to handle with care and that are difficult for my clients. To your point, you were incredulous.
Speaker 3 (19:39)
Do people really disinherit? So they know they’re disinheriting their child, and there’s a level of pain that comes with being disowned by their own child or by their siblings or by their parents. And so there’s a lot of re-traumatization that occurs in doing an estate plan where you have to protect yourself and ultimately disinherit these people and put in writing. This person has predeceased me. So it’s painful for the client but ultimately necessary to protect their estate.
Speaker 2 (20:15)
That’s like kind of the downside of estate planning. And your practice is what you go through when there’s families involved and there’s children involved, it must be tough.
Speaker 3 (20:30)
Yeah. Both on the family side and on the family law side and on the estate planning side. All of the relationships ultimately come to play and do make it tough. But from estate planning, there’s a level of sadness because the person in family law, there may be active acrimony where people actively dislike each other. But with this state planning, quite often my clients just coming to me in pain and seeking to protect themselves.
Speaker 2 (21:05)
Well, I got to tell you, we’ve only got about a minute left. But, Angela, what you’re doing for the LGBTQ community in the Philadelphia area. And you know what I would think with your background, that Pennsylvania, not just Philadelphia, because they’re licensed in Pennsylvania.
Speaker 3 (21:30)
I have clients all the way in Erie and Slippery Rock. So, yeah, I can handle all of PA all the way up to Ohio.
Speaker 2 (21:39)
But you understand and that is so important what they’re going through. And we’ve talked about this before. Some attorneys throw up LGBTQ websites and don’t really understand. And I think it is so wonderful what you’re doing and what you’re about to do. Give everybody your phone number.
Speaker 3 (22:05)
Sure, 215-6452 415.
Speaker 2 (22:10)
You might have a friend that’s in the LGBTQ community or a family member. Do them a favor, give them Angela’s phone number because you never know. You might be married and you just never know. And you do employment law, too. Employment law, real estate law and family law. And they’re all kind of entertaining, but we just love what you do. Angela, give me your phone number one more time.
Speaker 3 (22:48)
Sure, 215-6452 415.
Speaker 2 (22:52)
And you got to give them your website. You got a great website.
Speaker 3 (22:56)
Absolutely giampololaw.com and my [email protected].
Speaker 2 (23:02)
I want to thank you again for your time every week. We’ll see you again next week.
Speaker 3 (23:08)
Can’t wait right now. Take care.
Speaker 1 (23:13)
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 [email protected].