Wills & Estate Plans - Princeton Theological Seminary

Wills & Estate Plans


Among the simplest and most generous ways to give.

A will represents a person’s final wishes and intentions. After providing for your loved ones, please consider one final act of generosity through a bequest in your will or living trust that provides enduring support for our vital work at Princeton Seminary. For many of us, this will be the most significant gift we will make – our gift of a lifetime.

Tools to Make a Bequest:

If you have not done so, you need to make a will or a living trust instrument. This is a significant and important undertaking. If you have a will or living trust, you may see your attorney to make an amendment.

Types of Bequests

  • Specific Bequest: You may leave a specific asset or assets, such as real estate, securities or a specific dollar amount to Princeton Theological Seminary.
  • Percentage Bequest: You may leave a specific percentage of your overall estate to Princeton Theological Seminary.
  • Residuary Bequest: You may gift the remaining balance of the estate after all specified distributions are made and all obligations have been satisfied to the Seminary.
  • Contingent Bequest: A contingent bequest is one that takes effect only if the primary beneficiary or beneficiaries of the bequest are unable to accept the bequest. Usually this means that the primary beneficiary does not survive the benefactor or else disclaims the property. By naming Princeton Theological Seminary as contingent beneficiary, Princeton Theological Seminary would receive your generous bequest only if the purpose of the primary bequest cannot be met.
See sample bequest language

Life Insurance

If life insurance’s original purposes have been achieved, consider re-employing it to power our mission.

Life insurance’s primary goal is to protect our loved ones. In situations where life insurance has served its original purpose, it can be a wonderful and significant gift to Princeton Theological Seminary.

Steps to Gift Insurance

  1. Request a designation form from your insurer.
  2. Name Princeton Theological Seminary as owner and beneficiary of your paid-up life insurance policy (see table below for other strategies). When making Princeton Theological Seminary owner and/or beneficiary of an insurance policy, please contact us to ensure your request is honored.
  3. You are eligible for a tax deduction for the cash value of the policy.
  4. Your generous gift of an existing insurance policy may be kept for future benefit or cashed in by Princeton Theological Seminary.

Account Beneficiary Designation

Consider strengthening our mission by designating us as an account beneficiary recipient.

Perhaps the simplest and easiest planned gift:

Giving a financial account after your lifetime is as simple as completing a beneficiary form. Since the beneficiary form dictates the beneficiary, the asset is not controlled by your will. So there is no expensive set-up or visit to your attorney.

There are several types of financial accounts that are passed according to your beneficiary designations – instead of through your will:

  • Bank accounts: To gift a checking or savings account, a “POD” or Payable on Death designation transfers the bank account to the “POD” beneficiary. You may wish to consider designating Princeton Theological Seminary as a POD beneficiary of a bank account not needed by heirs to help continue our important work.
  • Investment or brokerage accounts: A “TOD” or “Transfer on Death” designation directs your broker to move your designated investment securities to a new owner, Princeton Theological Seminary if you wish.
  • Qualified retirement plans: examples include IRAs, 401(k)s, and 403(b) accounts, which may be worth significantly more if you donate them than if you pass them to a beneficiary (other than a spouse). It can also have a real impact on our mission. Roth IRAs may also be designated, but they don’t have the same significant tax savings.
  • Life insurance policies: If your existing insurance policy is no longer needed, you might simply change your primary beneficiary of the existing policy to be Princeton Theological Seminary . If your loved ones still need the security of the policy, consider listing Princeton Theological Seminary as a contingent beneficiary.