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With the start of the New Year, now is the time to take Estate Planning off the back burner.

Attorney Angela Giampolo walks us through the entire process and explains why estate planning is so important for everyone.

Also on the show:
– Prenuptial Agreements
– How to care for your pets after you are gone


Episode Transcript

[00:00:54.850] – Speaker 2

Good morning, Philadelphia. Welcome to another ASD Experts, where we bring you Philadelphia’s finest experts in the field of legal, health, financial, and home improvement. We always start off each week. We start off on Tuesdays at 10:00 with our expert Angela Giampolo. She handles estate planning, family law, employment law, real estate law, and business law, and today we are going to be talking about estate planning. Angela works with the LGBTQ community. And I must tell you, we have been doing this for several years now, and I admit I have learned so much.

[00:01:49.490] – Speaker 3

I was just going to say, you didn’t even stumble over LGBTQ. It just flew out of your mouth. You used to have to write it down. What’s the order? I saw you. I would see you write it down and you’re completely different.

[00:02:11.920] – Speaker 2

I get phone calls, from people wanting to change the agenda. And I got to tell you, I know we have touched so many people that maybe never would have been. We have a platform, and you are the best at what you do. And I feel blessed that we have you as such a big part of our show and you’ve got a lot of things planned this year. And I just want to wish to you all the luck because what you’re doing is very important. Angela, I know you know this, but if you look at your background, you’ve always been there to help others that maybe didn’t have a fair shot.

[00:03:07.950] – Speaker 3

Yeah, we have a lot planned in 2023 as well. To your point about this being a platform. Right. And we’ve talked about I mean, I’ve had my expansion happening. But in discussing even expanding this platform further into other cities, and in thinking about that and thinking about even the amount of people that we’ve helped here and the amount of people that have reached out here and the impact that we have had locally, and to take that and expand it. Tenfold right. Is it significant? And it feels significant. And I really feel that going into 2023, just this year, that there is significant change that will occur. And by this time next year, when we’re talking about 2024 and all the things we have planned for that, we’ll look back and say, whoa, but there’s a lot to do. And I’m looking forward to doing it.

[00:04:24.540] – Speaker 2

Angela, You are touching so many people’s lives that I don’t know, because as busy as you are, your schedule, if you’ve actually had time to reflect on what you have done, what you’re going to do, it’s a little bit different than being a family attorney or just a criminal attorney. You’re going way beyond that. And we’ll talk about the things that you’ve got coming up because you’re going into the belly of the whales when you start talking about Alabama and other cities that aren’t as hip

[00:05:08.610] – Speaker 3

Right? Yeah. It’s the new year, so I feel like everyone is reflecting. Right. That’s sort of what you do. But sometimes and I love at least in the last six months or so or shows, when it’s worth getting philosophical and deep, we go there. Right.

[00:05:42.350] – Speaker 3

Shocking novel concept. But sometimes I find for me, that reflecting in the midst of when I’m building something, like when it’s not yet built. Right. And I’m either halfway at my goal or really just endeavoring upon the goal, that reflecting then is not helpful, that I have to go tunnel vision and just do the thing and reflect afterward. And so a lot of people will say, like, you’ve had such an impact. Like, do you reflect on that and appreciate that? And to be honest, no, I don’t at this moment, because there are just such big things that have yet to happen that it’s just easier to go full steam ahead rather than sit and reflect. That is the honest answer.

[00:06:48.770] – Speaker 2

Well, we want to wish everybody a happy and healthy New year. This is the start of a new year and we want to talk about estate planning today and as we enter the new year, Angela, why should people consider doing their estate planning now?

[00:07:10.570] – Speaker 3

Yeah, talk about reflecting. Now is the time to reflect on the life that you’ve built and how best to protect it. And without fail, around Thanksgiving, December, things get quiet. People really aren’t thinking about doing their estate planning and thinking about their potential death and dying when it’s the holidays. Right. But then the new year comes around and it’s one of those adulting, #adulting to-do list things that people need to do. So the main reasons why people do their estate planning, first and foremost, is probate avoidance. I can’t stress that enough. There is absolutely no reason for someone to go through probate. And if someone says, Well, I don’t have a lot of money, even more reason to not have to go through probate, because wealthy people can afford the probate process. They can afford the additional legal fees, they can afford the probate fees, the length of time upon which before you can get your money, your hands on the money, they can afford that. And people without a lot of money can’t when I say it’ll be nine to twelve months before I cut you a check. People without a lot of money are like, you’re kidding me?

[00:08:24.470] – Speaker 3

I need I want my money now, you know, or what do you mean the legal fee? Is that or, why are the probate fees? That right. So by having a proper estate plan that avoids probate altogether, everybody makes out whether you have $5 or 5 million. Okay, so probate avoidance, first and foremost, avoidance of unnecessary estate taxes. Just the taxes associated with dying. We call it sheltering. You’re not hiding, you’re not paying taxes. We’re just sheltering your assets from certain taxes. Disputes, obviously family disputes. Death and divorce changes people. I just got a call yesterday about a death and divorce at the same time. The guy files for divorce and a month later at a heart attack, well, there’s a divorce now that has to happen. The estate the deceased person still has to go through that divorce. That’s another reason I did a lot of divorces during the holidays. If you recently were separated or divorced, you need to update your estate planning documents. If you did them or get them. There were default laws when you were married to your wife or to your husband. There were default laws that said everything went to them.

[00:09:44.240] – Speaker 3

And now, if you’re newly single, what do you want to have happen? Your will could potentially say, everything goes to my ex if you already have a will. And if not, it would go to your parents if they’re well, your kids, if you have kids, and then parents, if not, and then siblings and whatnot. So it may not be exactly what you want to have happen. And then obviously family disputes you want to avoid and then just overall planning, right? Like it’s being able to live into your plan. I always say the best time to start is now for your estate planning because regardless of whether you’re 25,35,55, or 75, you have to start somewhere. And it’s called estate planning ing because plans are meant to change. So if you’re 25, yes, your plan will change when you’re 45. If you’re 45, yes, your plan will change when you’re 65, and if you’re 75, chances are we’ll do one final set of estate planning even before you die around gifting and some tax avoidance thing. Those are all and some of the reasons why you might consider starting your estate planning now.

[00:11:04.950] – Speaker 2

We just got a text from Felicia saying, Angela, I love your show. I never miss your show. And now I have a question. What are your feelings on prenups?

[00:11:20.250] – Speaker 3

Very good question. I am one of the few attorneys, but they’re becoming more and more attorneys that view a prenup as part of the estate planning process. So while this is not the family law portion, sometimes we do family law in this show. Most people think prenups around family law, but a good estate planning attorney will ask, are you married? If you are married, you’re already married. Is a postnup something that you would like to consider? Right? And if not, how we do the estate planning should take into consideration whether you’re married and when the assets that you have in your possession when you acquired them. So if you owned a rental property, if you owned a home when you were 25 and you’re getting married at 35, we don’t want to put that home that you bought separate long before you met your spouse into a joint revocable living trust, ultimately commingling that asset and making it a marital asset when it was a separate asset. And then if I meet you and you’re not married, I absolutely impress upon couples getting a premarital agreement, a prenup because it’s part of the planning process.

[00:12:43.540] – Speaker 3

Ultimately, you’re not planning to die, but you’ve approached me to do your will. You’re not planning to get divorced, right? But you should have a document likewise, that plans for the death of your relationship, just like you have a document that plans for the death of you. And so when I meet a couple that has come to me for estate planning, and then I find out that a prenup or a postnup is appropriate for them, what I do is I tell them right then and there. So in the first initial meeting, listen, ethically, I can only represent one of you in the prenup, okay? You both come to me for estate planning. Now we’re sort of switching gears and talking about a prenup or a postnup. So I suggest we do that first, hold off on the estate planning. You to decide who’s going to work with me on the prenup or the postnup. So I’ll wait to get an email. I tell them about the process, and then I work with one of them on the prenup, a postnup. And then when that process is done and that document is signed, then my client, who is solely my client, then signs a conflict waiver allowing me to represent their soon-to-be spouse, fiance or spouse.

[00:13:54.740] – Speaker 3

Okay, but they were my client. They were my sole client. But now I’m about to take on joint representation of them and their spouse. So the conflict has to be waived. And then they sign no one has never not signed it sign a conflict waiver. And then they engage me as their estate planning attorney, and then we begin the estate planning process. But it’s very, I think, a significant document. People the national marrying age. I don’t know how old you are, Felicia, but the national marrying age currently is 29 for women and 31 for men. I own my own first home at 31. I wasn’t married when I bought my first home, right? So by the time I got married, I think I own five properties by the time I got married. I want a plan around that, right. It’s long gone are the days of not owning anything and getting your first pot and pan at the engagement party when you’re 19 or 20, right.

[00:14:55.790] – Speaker 2

People don’t think about that. You might have a good possibility of wealth. And also, it just happened last night. People have to think about this. Last night, I don’t even know a duo, diamond and Silk, that have a podcast, very popular podcast. Diamond passed away last night and she was only in her 40s. We just never know. You can’t say, oh, I’m 35 and I’m not going to die tomorrow. But you don’t know. And I think estate planning is so important now, maybe more than ever before. And I think we answered Felicia’s questions. Give everybody your phone number so maybe someone like Felicia can sit down and make an appointment with you.

[00:15:59.780] – Speaker 3

Sure. Phone number is 215-645-2415. And you can go on my website as well and check us out there at

[00:16:11.430] – Speaker 2

We’re talking estate planning today. We’re going to go to break. When we come back, got a lot of questions for you. We’ll be right back.

[00:17:41.810] – Speaker 2

And we are back. This is the Ask Expert Show, with you every Tuesday from ten to eleven, we have experts in the field of legal, health, financial, and home improvement. And our first show, as always, every week at 10:00 is attorney Angela Giampolo. We’re talking about LGBTQ law. Angela handles estate planning, family law, employment law, real estate law, and business law. And we’re kind of concentrating the estate planning law. Angela, what are the main documents that make up estate planning?

[00:18:24.610] – Speaker 3

Yes, within an LGBTQ estate plan? Within, I guess, traditional estate planning, there are less. But with an LGBTQ estate plan, there are nine documents. I would say traditionally, there are five. 

[00:18:52.210] – Speaker 3

All right, so nine documents. That is in an estate plan. First and foremost, they’re what I call the healthcare trifecta documents. Three healthcare documents. So, first and foremost, your healthcare power of attorney, which everyone knows, right? They think healthcare they think just that document. In the healthcare power of attorney, I include what’s called a HIPAA waiver. HIPAA release. A lot of lawyers will make that, yet a separate document. Already have nine documents per person. Why have yet another individual solo document that you could potentially forget at home, lose. So if anyone asks, great, you’re her healthcare power of attorney. But did she sign a HIPAA waiver, a HIPAA release? And the answer is yes, it’s inside my healthcare power of attorney. So that’s one, then. The living will, the DNR document, the Terry Shivo document, however you want to refer to it, but it only has your name on it. It is your living will. What do you want to have happen should you be unable to speak for yourself, ultimately, right? Irreversible coma, irreversible vegetative state, permanently unconscious, or deemed to be in a terminal state. So you could be absolutely conscious, walking, talking. But this happened with a client of mine a few months ago. But have stage 4 pancreatic cancer, and you have three weeks to live, right? You’ve technically met that condition of end-stage, so that’s your living will, only your name goes on. 

[00:20:35.320] – Speaker 2

That keeps you out of the probate court, won’t it?

[00:20:37.400] – Speaker 3

Yeah. No, that’s the living trust. That’s the living trust. This is your living will. It just says, do you want a breathing machine? Do you want water? Do you want hydration? Do you want nutrition? Do you want CPR? Do you want right? It’s all these healthcare choices, and you make those decisions for yourself today for eleven years from now, 30 years from now, when you may be in an end-stage medical condition and unable to speak for yourself. So that’s a living will. The third healthcare document is what I call the hospital visitation authorization form. HVA and I do two versions of that, the hospital visitation authorization form. If you’re legally married, you’re automatically granted visitation rights. Okay? So that’s not an issue in this country if you’re already legally married. But we’re only considered married in 33 countries out of 195 that fly a flag. So if you go to Beijing this summer and slip and fall in the great wall of China, you’re not considered legally married. You’re just two women. If you slip, fall, or if you get nipped, rather by a lion on safari in Tanzania, you’re just two dudes.

[00:21:57.340] – Speaker 3

You’re not legally married, and it’s illegal to be gay in Tanzania. So you don’t want to yell, that’s my husband, right? So this is for those watching the video. This is I shrink it down and laminate it, and you hold on to one another’s in one another’s passports. Okay? So while we have marriage equality, while everything is fine here in the US. This is meant for international travel. If you go to any of the countries where your marriage is not considered legal, and then if anything happens, Obergerfell gets overturned, and anything happens to the Respect for Marriage Act, which could easily be overturned regardless, there will be religious exemptions. So if you get in a car accident and get brought to St. Agnes or St. Mary’s or St. Mercy’s and you’re at a religious hospital and they don’t recognize your marriage, you can still have this. So those are the three health care docs. Then there are the three legal financial documents, the durable power of attorney. That along with the living trust, the Revocable living trust, which is the probate avoidance tool, most powerful documents that there are. All right? The durable power of attorney exists in life. It expires at death. So who is your power of attorney to live for you as you in life? Okay, what do people do?

[00:23:20.990] – Speaker 2

Do they want you to have the power of attorney or a family member?

[00:23:26.040] – Speaker 3

It depends. Some people understand how much of a burden it is on family members, and they would rather someone who does it for a living do it all day, every day. Other people, especially within the LGBTQ community, and if they’re older, they literally don’t have someone else. They lost their whole circle of friends and chosen family during the AIDS epidemic, let’s say, or they’re older and they’re alone, and I am a fiduciary. I would lose my license if I did anything inappropriate. So they just trust me right with that. And then other people choose family, friends, loved ones. But a durable power of attorney is a very, to be redundant powerful document, and you need to trust the person that you are giving that to, and then that expires at death, and then the will and the trust kick in. Okay? So all the same powers, but from the minute you leave my office, the durable power of attorney is in effect until the day you die. And then the will and the trust kick in. And now your durable power of attorney becomes your executor and your trustee. And they administer the trust completely outside of probate because we put everything into it, right?

[00:24:44.570] – Speaker 3

And then you’re done within months instead of a year to a year and a half. Those are the three legal financial documents. And then lastly, there are the three, what I call companion documents. A, this tangible item, this statue that was given to me by my grandmother. It wasn’t, its Ikea, but is that statue super important to me? And I wanted to go to my nephew Edmund, bypass my partner, and go directly to my nephew Edmund. I just did a plan where the dad had a Babe Ruth baseball, signed baseball. And he wanted it to go to one particular daughter, and there were five. Right. And another daughter got his varsity jacket from high school, another daughter got his Vietnam flag, another daughter got and so tangible items. What do you want to have happen? Right? And then my favorite document, right? Who gets your bird? Birds live forever, right?

[00:25:54.320] – Speaker 3

But who’s going to take care of my little chichi bean, my little Chihuahua? Your birds. I don’t know how many birds. I have plans around that are going to live much longer than their owners. 

[00:26:06.070] – Speaker 2

That’s right.

[00:26:07.350] – Speaker 3

You absolutely need to have a pet care agent. Some people just call me for that. I have an African parrot, and I’m 55, and this thing’s going to live 25 years after me. I need a pet care agent, and I need to leave money to that person. And all of the things.

[00:26:24.280] – Speaker 2

I got to tell you something. There’s so many things that a person might not think about, but that’s why they need you. Because, I mean, here you’re talking about pets. Who would think about pets?

[00:26:39.550] – Speaker 3

But tortoises. Totally. I have done plans around tortoises that live 80 years and African parents. And I have one woman who lives out in the boondocks of New Jersey, and she’s created a bad habit of feeding these deer. She buys, like, 90 lbs of grain a month and feeds these deer every day at Lake Sunset. So there’s like, 30 deer that come, and if ever she goes away, she has to hire someone to come and continue to feed them because she’s basically domesticated them. She came to me because she’s like I’ve now realized that if I die, no one knows to keep feeding these deer. So not only do I have people just like you that have but you.

[00:27:25.970] – Speaker 2

DO you have a checklist, though? Things I wouldn’t even think about that. I need that, you know, when it comes to estate planning, well, that’s what.

[00:27:36.790] – Speaker 3

The initial meeting really, the first couple of meetings are all about, is just us talking, which is why I charge a flat fee and not hourly because I need you to feel comfortable to just talk and talk and talk that way. Right. That woman didn’t think to tell me that she randomly feeds deer at Sunset every day until that wasn’t at top of her mind. But, yeah, I just met with a couple, and one writes or Choreographs ballets. And he didn’t think or realize that we could copyright all of the ballets that he’s choreographed over time and that he can pass those on to his husband. But it wasn’t until he started talking and I said, oh, do you have copyrights on that? How do you want to pass on your ballets? He said I didn’t realize I could pass on a ballet. You’ve created that people pay you to choreograph something, make it tangible, and then other people buy it after the fact. That’s an asset that you have. And you can absolutely pass on your ballets. So, yeah, I have a checklist, but copywriting ballets and passing that on in 15 years has not been a part of my checklist until last week.

[00:28:53.900] – Speaker 2

Angela, I hate to say this, but our shows come to an end. But the good part is he’ll be back next week. Always at 10:00. Give everybody your phone number and your website address.

[00:29:07.150] – Speaker 3

Sure. 215-645-2415. And the website is

[00:29:15.170] – Speaker 2

I get so many emails, people going, I didn’t have a pen, I didn’t have a pencil when I heard Angela give out her number. Let’s just give it out one more time.

[00:29:25.510] – Speaker 3

Sure. 215-645-2415.

[00:29:30.210] – Speaker 2

Angela Giampolo.