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Ask Gordon

Gordon L. Nelson, CPA, CFP® is a planned giving specialist. Want to get your questions answered? Write him or call him at 435.213.9986.

October 2023

Dear Gordon,

I’ve spent my life building a successful business. Now, I want to ensure that the wealth I’ve accumulated doesn’t just benefit my family but also the environment I care deeply about. How can planned giving help me balance these interests?

-Environmentalist + Entrepreneur 
St. Augustine, FL

Dear Environmentalist + Entrepreneur ,

First, congratulations on your life’s work, and for being a steward of not only your own success but also of the environment. The analogy of building a business to nurturing seeds is apt given your interest in the environment. Over the years, you’ve watered, pruned, and cultivated your business, allowing it to flourish. Now, as you approach the harvest, it’s only natural to want the fruits of your labor to be shared responsibly and with purpose.

Indeed, one of the challenges many families face is the unexpected consequences of sudden wealth. Without proper preparation, guidance, or understanding, the nest egg you’ve painstakingly accumulated can sometimes dissipate more quickly than anticipated due to taxes, mismanagement, or simply a lack of financial acumen.

Enter planned giving.

By thoughtfully integrating a non-profit organization, like the Foundation, into your financial or estate plans, you can achieve multiple objectives:

  • It can present opportunities to minimize estate and income taxes, ensuring that more of your wealth remains with your family and other beneficiaries.
  • It enables you to create an enduring legacy by supporting causes dear to your heart, such as the environment.

There are many vehicles for planned giving. For instance, integrating a non-profit in the business sale process or using mechanisms like a Testamentary Charitable Unit Trust for retirement assets can offer both tax advantages and significant contributions to your cherished causes.

Your legacy should not merely be about figures on a balance sheet, but about the positive impact you’ve made. By thoughtfully planning your legacy, you can ensure that your family is cared for and that the environment you are passionate about continue to benefit long after you’re gone.


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