PRINCETON generations

Ideas and Strategies from the Office of Gift Planning at Princeton University

A Legend in Creating Legacies Shares How to Protect Yours

William D. Zabel '58

In a nearly 50-year career, William D. Zabel ’58 has earned legendary status among estate and tax planners for his work with high-net-worth individuals. His client list includes names ranging from Annenberg to Chrysler to Soros.

Zabel shared his wisdom with alumni at Reunions 2017. His advice for protecting loved ones and personal legacies through thoughtful estate planning included these cautionary notes:

  • There is no sacrosanct will.

  • Beware protective clauses.

  • Even boilerplate in a will has to be reviewed frequently.

Zabel also sprinkled his talk with quips from Winston Churchill—the subject of his senior thesis—and inspiring quotes from other luminaries. Riffing on words by Senator Robert F. Kennedy on sending out “a ripple of hope,” Zabel said of making a planned gift to Princeton: “I think I can say if you send out your own ripples, the effects will fill you with satisfaction and delight and make your own lives more complete.”

Listen to or download highlights of Zabel’s talk

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This entry was posted on October 27, 2017 in FALL 2017.


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Photos by Sameer Khan and courtesy of Juanita James and Doug Grover