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Playwrights Horizons plays an essential leadership role in the national theater landscape, identifying and nurturing the most compelling and original new voices in American playwriting and helping to create the rich catalogue of new American plays and musicals. 

A charitable bequest made through your will or retirement account is one of the simplest ways that you can make a significant contribution to help us to maintain and improve our important programs for writers, artists, students, audiences, and the larger theatrical community. 

Click here to use a free estate planning tool to write your legal will and designate a charitable bequest to support Playwrights Horizons.

We are pleased to provide the following information to help you as you consider the best way to construct a charitable bequest for Playwrights Horizons.

Ready to get started? We’ve partnered with FreeWill to provide an online estate planning tool to our community. It makes it 100% free to create your legal will and simple to include the necessary language to designate a charitable bequest to Playwrights. It can also be paired with an attorney for more complex needs or finalization.

If you have any questions about making a charitable bequest to Playwrights Horizons, please contact Benjamin Weisman, Director of Development, at bweisman@phnyc.org or 212 564 1235 x3145.  All conversations are strictly confidential and imply no obligation. 

If you have already included Playwrights Horizons in your estate plans, you can let us know by filling out this letter of intent (Download PDF).


A will is a very important estate planning tool.  It allows you to determine who will receive your property after your death, in what amounts and proportions and under what circumstances, with tax considerations factored in.  If necessary, it also allows you to name guardians for your minor children.

It is important to note:  if you die without a will, the laws of the state where you reside—not you—will determine how your property is distributed. This includes any bank accounts, securities, real estate, and other assets you own at the time of death.

Most experts agree that hiring an experienced estate planning attorney will save you and your beneficiaries time and money in the long run. While you determine what goes into your will, your attorney will make sure it is a proper legal statement of how you wish your possessions to be distributed.



Through your will, you can provide for your family and friends through designated bequests.  You can also choose to provide support for the organizations that you care about most through the designation of charitable bequests. We hope that you consider Playwrights Horizons to be one of those organizations. 

There are several options you can choose from when establishing a charitable bequest:

  • Specific bequest: Determine a specific dollar amount or asset that you would like to leave to Playwrights Horizons.
  • Residual bequest: After you have provided for your loved ones, name Playwrights Horizons to receive a percentage or all of your residuary estate.
  • Contingent bequest: Name Playwrights Horizons as a beneficiary only in the event that the primary beneficiary is unable to assume those assets, such as in the case of death.

The following is sample language you may wish to review with your estate attorney as you consider including Playwrights Horizons in your will or living trust.  It can be tailored to address your specific wishes:

“I give to Playwrights Horizons, a New York corporation with its principal offices at 416 West 42nd Street, New York, New York, 10036, [the sum of $__/all/___percent] of my residuary estate, to be used for its general purposes.”

It is possible to designate a specific purpose for your bequest, but it is important to remember that the needs and programs of Playwrights Horizons can change over time and, therefore, that the purpose that you designate may not exist at the time of your passing.  If it is important to you to designate a specific purpose for your bequest, we ask that the provision in your will be written to allow flexibility.  Please consider the following suggested language:

“I direct but do not require that Playwrights Horizons use these funds for __________.”



Designating Playwrights Horizons as the beneficiary of your retirement accounts is a very tax efficient way to make a charitable bequest.  Since your money was deposited into these accounts with pre-tax dollars and grew on a tax deferred basis it would be taxed as regular income upon distribution to an individual beneficiary and could also be subject to estate tax.  By designating Playwrights Horizons as a charitable beneficiary the entire amount would be distributed directly to our organization and would not be included in any calculation of taxes owed by your estate.  (Please be aware that if the plan is a Roth IRA, as opposed to a deferred retirement plan, income taxes have been paid before the contribution so the full tax benefit as described above would be minimized.)

No changes to your will are required to name Playwrights Horizons as the beneficiary of your retirement accounts.  You simply need to request a change of beneficiary form from your plan administrator and put Playwrights Horizons, with our tax identification number, as the beneficiary.  Our legal name is Playwrights Horizons, Inc. and Federal Tax ID number is 13-2805131. 


  • Life Insurance Ownership:  Playwrights Horizons will accept transfers of ownership of existing, paid-up life insurance policies. The theater must be named as both beneficiary and irrevocable owner of the policy, and if premiums remain to be paid, the donor must agree to pay the amount of the premiums to Playwrights Horizons.  There are additional criteria which must be met before this type of gift will be accepted by Playwrights Horizons.
  • Real Estate:  Gifts of real estate may include developed property, undeveloped property, or remainder interest in a property and may be accepted by Playwrights Horizons if the property is unencumbered by a mortgage or similar lien or restriction. Due to the extensive administrative time and expense likely to be involved, such gifts must be readily marketable, located within the continental United States, and be of sufficient value to warrant the expense entailed.  There are additional criteria which must be met before this type of gift will be accepted by Playwrights Horizons.