When my car needs maintenance, I take it to a mechanic. When I need a medical procedure performed, I make an appointment with my physician. And when I want to develop a plan to make the most advantageous financial decisions while I’m living, or to most effectively allocate my assets upon my death, I seek out a professional advisor.

Professional advisors – like attorneys, accountants and financial planners – serve as an essential conduit between individuals, their finances, and their intent. Their knowledge of applicable laws, particularly tax laws, allows them to guide their clients to reach the most propitious outcomes.   

I had lunch several weeks ago with Mark Winn, an attorney in Bluffton who has received specialized training in estate planning. For the past 18 years Mark has helped many individuals plan for the transfer of a great amount of money. Mark shared with me that he sees his career as a calling.

“It’s been very rewarding and a privilege to help people as I have,” he says.

As Mark works with his clients, he ascertains their goals and intent and, through the course of conversation, learns what’s important to them. For some, it’s leaving a charitable legacy. He warns, however, that there are substantial tax issues related to charitable giving.

“If done properly, you can accomplish charitable giving, achieve great satisfaction and, at the same time, do it in a tax-wise manner,” he said. “With professional advice, the benefits can be much more substantial because when a professional is involved, you get the benefit of solid tax advice.”

Mark has helped a number of clients include the Community Foundation as a beneficiary of all or a portion of their estate.

“I’ve connected clients with the Community Foundation for a number of reasons,” he says. “First, because of the personal touch. The Community Foundation is helpful and easy to work with. Additionally, they’re local, professional, and well-regarded.”

At the Community Foundation, we enjoy working with professional advisors and their clients to structure gift agreements, manage the transfer of various gifts, and devise charitable strategies that fulfill their clients’ philanthropic wishes, all while providing tax advantages. We work with individuals, families, companies, private foundations and nonprofits, offering a number of different fund types to best meet charitable intent.

Of course, working with a variety of different professional advisors and their clients is just one of the ways we fulfill our mission of connecting people, resources and needs. If you want to leave a charitable legacy, talk with your professional advisor to see how you can make a difference, both now and into the future.    

Scott Wierman is the president and CEO of Community Foundation of the Lowcountry.