How Your Will Can Last Forever

Most of the time, we think of a will as a means of reaching specific goals: assuring funds for a child's or grandchild's education; providing for a spouse's comfort; and generally expressing your estate-planning desires.

However, a will can also have a greater long-term effect. By creating memorials beyond the usual specific goals, a will can pay tribute to friends or loved ones or institutions and "last forever."

Memorial gifts made to the Nurses Educational Funds, Inc. (NEF), a nonprofit organization which grants scholarships to registered nurses for graduate study, can become part of a permanent endowment, generating graduate nursing educational scholarship income for years to come.

Specific Bequests

A popular kind of bequest is an outright bequest. The will designates that a specific amount be transferred as a gift for either general or defined use. Such a gift can take the form of cash, stocks, real estate, autos, jewelry, or any other type of asset.

All such transfers are deductible for federal estate tax purposes. This often makes it possible to give a larger gift at lower cost.

Other Forms of Memorial by Will

While specific bequests are popular, a memorial by will may take other forms. Giving a percentage of the estate ensures that the gift remains in proportion to other bequests. Since few of us can anticipate the value of our assets at death, giving by percentage retains flexibility.

Giving the residue is another choice. The residue refers to all property available after all terms of the will have been satisfied.

Residual bequests may be small or large, but in either case, the maker of the will enjoys the assurance that his or her loved ones will be provided for before any charitable dispositions are made.

Leaving an Income

If all property will be needed to ensure a comfortable lifestyle for a surviving spouse or others, consider another memorial bequest idea.

Leave the use of your property to a spouse or other person for life. At that person's death, the property can then be distributed to other persons or charitable institutions and organizations as you specify in your will. When the charitable gift is received, it will be used to establish a memorial, as you direct.

Such a plan provides a lifetime income for a spouse or other relative, and can ensure an eventual memorial in honor of the spouse and/or other loved ones. It is usually drawn in the form of a trust. If a spouse is the lifetime beneficiary, the property used to fund his or her income can be deductible for federal estate tax purposes. At the spouse's death, further tax benefits may be available.

For Short Term Needs

Another attractive alternative to outright bequests is to set aside property for a period of years, generating income for a specific purpose. For example, you can provide for the education of children or grandchildren until they reach the age of, say 25. At the end of the period named, all or a portion of the property goes to one or more nonprofit organizations or institutions, as you have specified.

Funding Memorials During Ones Lifetime

Of course, you need not wait to create a memorial in your will. Many choose to begin funding memorials during their lifetime and then make a final addition to the fund in the form of a bequest. Just as it is possible to create an income for surviving loved ones and a memorial at their death, you may make charitable gifts during your lifetime and establish a memorial at death.

These are just a few of the most popular ways of creating lasting memorials by will. Of course, any charitable gift may be made "in memory of".

Whether or not your will contains a memorial gift, it is a very important document for you, your family, and other loved ones. Contact a qualified attorney for assistance. She or he can advise you about how to achieve your goals.

If you are interested in exploring opportunities for memorials, please call or write:

Nurses Educational Funds, Inc.
137 Montague Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201
(917) 524-8051
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Website:


Ashley Henneghan

(2013-2014 Winner)

Pursuing her doctoral degree at the University of Texas at Austin, Ashley Henneghan, winner of the Evelyn Barclay Scholarship, intends to become a nurse educator with a tenured position in the school of nursing... read more.

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NEF’s only purpose is to provide nursing scholarship assistance to make graduate level nursing education possible. NEF is the largest, single, private, professionally endorsed source of funds for advanced nursing study with over one hundred years of service to and for professional nursing.

NEF’s Board of Directors is comprised of leaders from nursing, education, technology, and business communities. Members donate their time and talent to the advancement of the nursing profession. NEF operates with exceptionally low overhead. NEF employs only one individual who serves in several capacities. NEF is a non-profit organization with 501(c) status; thus, your contributions are fully tax-deductible.