You are listening to an excerpt from Ask the Experts on Talk 860 WWDB AM with weekly guest, LGBTQ legal expert Angela Giampolo.
We are back after a brief hiatus, with one of the most important questions in estate planning…should you consult with and include your family members, children and friends in the estate planning process? Angela answers this question after she and Steve catch up a little and Angela explains how detention in grade school led to her becoming a lawyer and advocate for the underdog.
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. After a brief hiatus, we’re back with probably one of the most important questions in estate planning. Should you consult with and include your family members, children and friends in the estate planning process? Angela answers this question after she and Steve catch up a little and Angela explains how detention in grade school led to her becoming a lawyer and advocate for the underdog.
Speaker 2 (00:38)
Hi, good morning, Philadelphia. I got to tell you, it’s really weird that for the last two weeks or three weeks I haven’t been on because I had covid and I can’t believe all the emails I got wondering how come I’m not on because our next guest, who is our every week 10:00 guest or expert, we’re always on together. This is the last week. It’s not over when they say it’s over. So I want to say good morning to Angela.
Speaker 3 (01:22)
So you’re still sick?
Speaker 2 (01:24)
You know what? The lungs still weren’t what they used to be. And it’s really sad because we’re going to be talking about this today because it really hits home that listen, Covid is still out there and I’m still reading about people 40 and 50 years old dying. And I got to tell you, people, they think we’re indispensable. We’re like Hercules or something. We’re going to be alive forever. And it doesn’t work that way.
Speaker 3 (02:04)
We think about it until it impacts us or someone that we love. Ultimately, it’s just human nature. It’s too hard otherwise to be constantly aware of our impending death. So we pretend like it doesn’t until it happens.
Speaker 2 (02:19)
By the way, Angela, you look so good today. I got to just have to throw that.
Speaker 3 (02:24)
It’s been so long since you’ve seen me, Steve.
Speaker 2 (02:27)
God, it’s been about three weeks. But I got to tell you, first of all, we’re going to talk about your firm first because that’s the most important thing. And I got to tell you, Angela, we do this every week, but we have to because we’ve got it’s amazing. New people are always tuning in to your show. And I want people to know your background because I got to tell you, Angela, I am in awe of your background and I’m in awe that you always wanted to help people. I see her smiling, but it’s really true.
Speaker 3 (03:13)
I’m waiting to tell a joke. I’m just going to tell all the listeners that I have you on retainer to say nice things about.
Speaker 2 (03:28)
Seriously, if you look at your background, it’s always about helping people. Maybe the underdog, I should say that’s who you are.
Speaker 3 (03:41)
Yes. You and I have never met in person, but only 4’10” and three quarters, I don’t even hit 411. And so they call me a pit bull in a chihuahuas body. And I have always been the underdog. And each time I talk about the firm instead of telling the same story over and over I always try to maybe bring a news story that really brings home the same point which is why I created Giampolo Law Group and Philly Gay Lawyer I wasn’t sure I was ever going I didn’t know I wanted to be a lawyer Ultimately the first person to have ever brought it up in my life was the detention lady when I was twelve because I was always in detention and so we were always together right? If I didn’t get detention she would get to go home at 3:10 with everyone else but because I had detention she was stuck there till 4:10. So basically there’s detentions which are one detention you do something bad you get a detention it’s one it’s done but a referral was five detentions so I got so many referrals that there weren’t enough school days in the year to serve them because there was only 180 days in a calendar year and so I just had like 200 and some odd detention days with all my referrals stacked up so then I’d have to do manual labor in the summer it was just a whole thing. So everybody’s lives were impacted by the fact that I had always gotten these detentions and if I look back and if the detention lady were here she would say the same these weren’t my fights that I was fighting I would always overhear something an argument or bullying or something and then get involved and then be the one to finish it maybe not so eloquently but I did warranting me a detention or referral of some kind and so one day many, many, many days into the year the detention lady is like you should become a lawyer And I was like Why? And she’s like because one of us would get paid for this yes which I can’t say on the radio right one of us would get paid for this stuff that you’re doing daily. It was funny, we laughed about it. Just having the detention lady swear in detention is its own thing when you’re a kid but it always stuck in the back of my head and then as I got older and more mature and fighting other people’s fights started to become a thing but in a more mature context. I was like I guess this is what being a lawyer could be. So when I was done college my personal statement to law school was not going to be because of the detention lady told me to so I needed to figure it out a little bit more than that.
Speaker 3 (07:17)
So after college, I took a couple of years off and I paralegaled at two different law firms and got some experience actually within the practice of law and really decided for myself, yeah, this is what I want to do. And then I went back and went to Temple, and by then I was older and had work experience under my belt. And I was very clear that fighting for the underdog at 4’11”, having been called a pit Bull in a Chihuahuas body, having been to detention more days into our calendar years, fighting for the underdog. And on a macro level, I care about humanity. I care about community. Not that I don’t care about humans. I care about humans.
Speaker 2 (08:00)
I understand what you’re saying.
Speaker 3 (08:02)
But I care about humanity.
Speaker 2 (08:03)
Really good. Angela, I got to tell you, because I talked to so many attorneys with having eight markets. And I got to tell you, before you and I really got started and I saw how popular the show was, I started trying to talk to other attorneys that in their website they would say, oh, we take care of the LGBTQ community. And I got to tell you, it was really more of an ad for them because now you’re going to be branching out and you’re going to be an expert in all of our markets. But it wasn’t from the heart, Angela, if that makes any sense, because I talked to these lawyers and it was just they just threw a single up there that we do the LGBT community, but you really do right.
Speaker 3 (09:10)
Once marriage equality hit about seven years ago, any estate planning attorney or family law attorney, those are the main two employment law as well, depending on which state you’re in, but especially estate planning and family law right off the bat. Once marriage equality hit, whether they knew anything about the community or not, whether they had been working with the community for 15 years prior to marriage equality like I had or not, they could easily throw up copy, have their SEO person throw LGBTQ all over the place and put in the right words and put in same sexy and put in Obergefell and put in Windsor and just the SEO rich words that are LGBTQ specific, and then throw up a landing page and hope it hits. And if they get five gay couples or gay clients or gay divorces in a year than they otherwise would have without that landing page, they’re like, wonderful. It’s five more clients I wouldn’t have otherwise got. But it’s not authentic to your point. They know nothing more about the community than they did the day before. Marriage equality.
Speaker 2 (10:23)
Speaker 3 (10:23)
It just became marriage equality opened the doors to them because there are less differences in what they need to do to serve. But there still are differences in the law that they’re not cognizant of A and B, just truly being open to the community and knowing how to serve the community, down to their intake forms, having appropriate pronouns available, things that your average estate planning attorney just doesn’t have.
Speaker 2 (10:52)
Exactly. So I got to share something with you. I wanted to wait for the show. I’m like Angela, I played football. I’m a big guy. And last week we got a text and all it said was and it was from the two one five area code. So I knew where it was from. And Angela, I got to tell you, all it said was one word. Thank you. I got choked up because I’ve always felt with this show, if we can reach one new person that has no one to speak to, that doesn’t understand, maybe they’re in a marriage, an LGBTQ marriage, and maybe they want to get out of it or maybe they haven’t planned at all and didn’t know who to go to. And I went there’s that one person, all we said was, thank you. It was obvious.
Speaker 3 (12:14)
Absolutely. The things that we talk about and that over the course of the many shows that if the listener is lucky to get some of the well, they’re all substantive. But even our dialogue and you being a straight white man living down in Florida where Don’t Say Gay recently passed the House. And I had an HRC human rights campaign gala that I went to this past weekend. And Florida played a very prominent role in the gala in terms of how many times the state of Florida was mentioned, because in the Sanctus because they’re so anti LGBT. But we have Fort Lauderdale, we have Wilton Manors outside of Orlando, which is all super gay. And so I have a ton of clients who own homes down there that are now sort of conflicted because they’re paying taxes and this so property taxes at least. But when listeners get to hear our dialogue of how you’ve evolved, how you’ve been honest about the fact that you weren’t always open minded and nice to people within the LGBTQ community 20 years ago and your moment of evolution and now how you feel and the fact that I just heard you get choked up and the fact that our audience is completely mainstream.
Speaker 3 (13:46)
So maybe a handful of people are actually LGBTQ that are listening. This is meant for everyone and anyone. So we’re not in any way preaching to the choir. 97% of people listening are probably straight.
Speaker 2 (13:59)
I think word’s are getting out, too. Angela. Oh, there’s this show up. You got to listen to it because you give so much great advice. And we’re going to get to today. It’s been about three weeks since we’ve connected.
Speaker 3 (14:19)
So this is us catching up.
Speaker 2 (14:21)
Yeah, we’re going to talk about estate planning today. But I got to just tell you, I think this show has evolved, I think it’s going to grow to get bigger. And I really love the fact and we haven’t talked about it much. You are going to be trying not only branching out, but going like Midwest, these mid Southern cities that no one would ever think about go only that four foot eleven, your pup, your dog. Once they get all of your life.
Speaker 3 (15:01)
You’re not letting go, right? Niko will protect me, that’s for sure. He’ll bite anybody. And that’s the point, right? Why should I branch out into San Francisco where you throw a rock and hit a gay lawyer? Or New York or San Diego or any of those Austin, Texas? There are cities that have a plethora of LGBTQ resources, but there are cities where it is not okay to be gay. They don’t like our kind in them parts. And it’s dangerous and people are still closeted. And that’s a real thing. And I feel like when you are in cities like Philadelphia, New York, San Francisco, not you. We, I included, tend to forget the reality of what it’s like to live in Fort Worth or Mobile, Alabama. And some of these States where it is flat out dangerous to be authentically who you are, let alone trans and of color and add additional intersectionalities of diversity. And it just becomes harder and harder to just live life. Right. So, yeah, it would obviously be easier to branch out into San Fran, but there wouldn’t be an impact there versus Mobile, Alabama.
Speaker 2 (16:33)
I don’t know if I shared this with you. I knew I turned the corner. So to say I was a sports agent. And about a year ago I had four phone calls from friends of mine said, did you hear about he was one of my clients, big guy football. He’s come out of the closet and I said so. And it was like no big deal, right? Maybe ten years ago. Oh, my God, you guys can’t believe what. But it was like no big deal somewhat.
Speaker 3 (17:15)
Still a big deal to some people, unfortunately, especially with the NFL or soccer. Right. Those are sports that are still struggling. But definitely even five years ago. I feel like we’re light years ahead of where we were five years ago when Michael Sam came out. I think that’s five years ago now, but light years ahead of where we were then. That was like a jaw dropping moment. Whereas now it’s like, okay. And then people either get them, they’re either comfortable with it or they’re not. But it’s not jaw dropping anymore. Like it was even just five years.
Speaker 2 (17:52)
Yes. That’s the best way to do. First of all, give everybody your number.
Speaker 3 (17:58)
Absolutely. It’s 215-6452 415. And my website address is giampololaw.com and I [email protected]. So I decided to make it actually a YouTube channel and podcast video like this. And then we’ll strip the audio from it and make it podcast. So that should be going live, actually, in a couple of weeks.
Speaker 2 (18:27)
This is such an important topic as estate planning, Angela, and we’re really trying to educate people. This is not a commercial. This is educating people. And the first question I have is about should you include the family and the children friends when it comes to estate planning?
Speaker 3 (18:49)
Absolutely. So many people, unfortunately, think that this is a very solo private process, and I think maybe even psychologically want it to be that because to talk about it too broadly to too many people feels like, oh, I spoke about my impending death. It may now happen. So they just sort of contact me, set up a consultation, and then they start giving me answers to some of my questions. Who would be your healthcare power of attorney, let’s say. And they give me a name, my brother John. And so they answer all the questions. We’re talking, we’re talking. I’m like, okay, so have you talked to John? No. I’m like, well, don’t make me tell them.
Speaker 2 (19:34)
Speaker 3 (19:35)
I don’t know John, but it doesn’t even dawn on people to have a conversation like, do you want to be my durable power of attorney? Like, Steve, you’ve been sick now going on five weeks.
Speaker 2 (19:48)
Speaker 3 (19:49)
Solid five weeks. And God forbid it had been even worse. And you were in the hospital on ventilators or something. And who’s paying the mortgage? I did have a situation like that where someone was basically in an induced coma for six weeks and then in rehab for four more weeks. So we’re gone on like ten weeks without being able to live life financially, legally for themselves. And when she got out ten weeks later, the mortgage had continued to be paid, the car was continued to be paid because someone had access to their bank that they trusted, had access to their bank accounts and did all of this stuff for them. But to not have told that person that you chose that person to play such an important role, that really takes when you become someone’s power of attorney, it takes up like 90% of your time, at least in the first couple of weeks, to get things situated. Like you’re at the bank. It’s a full time job living for someone else legally and financially. It is not a job that you say yes to lightly. You have to have a job, literally work two jobs that pays you money.
Speaker 3 (21:07)
You have to have a job that will allow you some leeway. If you’re an entrepreneur, it’s going to be really hard to do it because you’re going to always have clients after you and this. But when do you get away? So think about who you’re appointing, actually have conversations with them. And another thing, in terms of choosing family members, I don’t know how many people will let’s say they have three siblings. They’re like, well, I’ll choose John for this. I’ll choose Bobby to be my health care provide attorney, and I’ll choose Susie to be my executor. And I’m like, are those really the best people for those roles, or are you just trying to divvy up roles easily so that nobody’s hurt when you die? Nobody’s feelings are hurt. And without fail, they’re like, why? I just want to make sure no one’s feelings are hurt. What if Susie is a horrible executor? If John should be the person for everything, then John should be the person for everything, period. End of story. No one will get hurt. This is a job and not for nothing, but they tend to just hire me to do their job anyways.
Speaker 3 (22:15)
So they’re really just named in spirit. But ultimately, the executor turns around and hires a lawyer to do whatever it is they need to do anyways. So is it important to involve your family members 100% 150% on when you are choosing the people playing the roles? You have to let them know that you’ve chosen them and the alternate.
Speaker 3 (22:40)
And then secondly, let’s just say that you appointed an attorney to play that role or a friend, but you’re leaving your assets to family. Should you involve the people that you’ve left? Like, tell them, hey, I’ve left you my house, or, hey, I’ve left you a third of my estate. Yes. I mean, why not? The more people that are involved in your estate plan, in my opinion, the better in terms of there’s transparency and the fact that they even know that you did a well, I don’t know how many people have contacted my office. And they said, I know that my dad did a will. He contacted me. He said, we just left the lawyer’s office. He signed the will. I can’t find it anywhere. Guess whose best interest it was for there not to be a will, a sibling who had been disinherited.
Speaker 2 (23:32)
Speaker 3 (23:33)
And so now we have some evidence. So in my opinion, the more people who know, the better. And if nothing else, definitely let the people know who you have appointed to play important roles in your estate plan.
Speaker 2 (23:47)
Well, you must have this incredible checklist in your head because there’s so many things that you’ve got to know. And we’re just kind of zooming in on estate planning today. We’re not talking family law, employment law, real estate law. And there’s so many things that, you know, the questions that you know, to ask versus someone, like trying to handle this themselves or not even handling it, not even taking care of it. And I got to tell you, one of the things you told me is when it comes to estate planning, everybody thinks estate. I’ve been doing this for a long time. I never thought of it that way. And it’s so important for people to get a will. And if you have a will, have somebody like yourself to look over the will even if someone else drew it up, it’s worth it. And I’ve got to apologize. I took up so much time today talking about you and that is never a hard thing for me to do.
Speaker 3 (25:05)
Steve exactly. You already have our outline for next week. Totally. Well, I truly hope you feel better.
Speaker 2 (25:17)
Give everybody your phone number.
Speaker 3 (25:19)
Sure. 215-6452, 415 and you can reach me on my website, giampololaw.com or my blog phillygaylawyers.com now.
Speaker 2 (25:30)
I don’t want people to think that you’ve got to be part of the LGBTQ community for Angela to represent you.
Speaker 3 (25:39)
I always joke that 97% of my clients are gay and fabulous and then the other 3% are fabulous so you can just be fabulous and not gay and still reach out.
Speaker 2 (25:50)
What about having an attorney that really does care? I think that is awesome, Angela I will see you next week.
Speaker 3 (25:58)
I’ll see you next week.
Speaker 1 (25:59)
Steve be sure to tune in every Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. When Angela Giampolo is the guest on ask the experts on 860 [email protected].