Winning Papers


Student Writing Competition

The ACTEC Foundation supports the scholarship of law students throught the Mary Moers Wenig Student Writing Competition. Please find the papers of the First Place, Second Place, Third Place and Honorable Mention winners below.

Mary Moers Wenig Student Writing Competition 

2017 Papers

First Place Winner: Shawn Irwin Walker, University of Oregon School of Law
Over My Dead Body: Preventing and Resolving Disputes Regarding the Disposition of the Dead

Second Place Winner: Jadrian Michael Coppieters, Georgetown University Law Center
The Omitted Spouse: New Estate Planning Techniques for Jewish Clients


Angela Bowen, Brigham Young University – J. Reuben Clark Law School
You Can Have the Car, Just Not the DAPT: Domestic Asset Protection Trusts and the Distribution of Property Upon Divorce

Nathan Kiyam, University of San Diego School of Law
Estate Taxes and Disclaimers Involving Charities

Danielle Schiffman, University of Florida Levin College of Law
Trustee Delegation of Investment Management Duties and the Varying Effects on Beneficiaries


2016 Papers

First Place Winner:  Benjamin Joseph Imdieke, University of Michigan Law School
A Nominal Credit: Why Donor Recognition Should Not Limit the Deductibility of Section 170 Charitable Contributions

Second Place Winner:  Margaret Claire Osswald, University of Utah – SJ Quinney College of Law
Custom Made Conservation: Resource Specific Conservation Easement Implementation Un-paves the Path of Tax Abuse

Third Place Winner:  Maria Bourdeau, Notre Dame Law School
The Meek Shall Inherit the Earth with a Stepped-up Basis: Alternatives to Stepped-Up Basis at Death


Katie Lepore, University of San Diego School of Law
Grantor Retained Trusts: Closing the Loopholes with the Elimination of Zeroed-Out GRTs Does Not Require a Minimum Ten-Year Term

Emily Robey-Phillips, Harvard Law School
Reducing Litigation Costs for Holographic Wills


2015 Papers

First Place Winner:  David Berke, Yale Law School
Family Values: An Evaluation of Internal Revenue Code Sections 2703 and 2704(b)

Second Place Winner:  Christopher Weeg, University of Florida Levin College of Law
The Private Trust Company – A DIY for the Über Wealthy


Beth J. Kerwin, New York University School of Law
President Obama’s Proposal to Tax Capital Gains at Death – What Happens in Canada Stays in Canada?

Charles E. McWilliams, Jr., Georgetown University Law Center
Constitutional Challenges to State Taxation of Non-Grantor Trusts

Gurney Pearsall, University of Colorado Law School
Presumed Abuse: Restoring Elder Justice in the 21st Century by Enacting a Presumption of Abuse and Disinheriting Abusers


2014 Papers

First Place Winner:  Abigail Farmer and Cory Elizabeth Tyszka, Arizona State Univ., Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law
Virtual Currency Estate Planning, Bit by Bit 

Second Place Winner:  Katie Magallanes, University of San Diego School of Law
Beyond Donor Intent – Leveraging Cy Pres to Remedy Unintended Burdens Caused by Charitable Gifts

Third Place Winner:  Kevin William Wright, Arizona State Univ., Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law
The History and Future of the Delaware Tax Trap


Christopher W. Morgan, Arizona State Univ., Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law
Elder Financial Exploitation: How Jurisdictional Uniformity will Aid in the Prevention and Punishment of Abuse


2013 Papers

First Place Winner: Christopher J. Roman, Villanova Law School
Protecting Your Clients’ Assets from their Future Ex-Sons and Daughters-In-Law: The Impact of Evolving Trust Laws on Alimony Awards

Second Place Winner:  Ryan Konsdorf and Scott Alden Prulhiere, Arizona State University, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law
Killing Your Chances of Inheriting: The Problem with the Application of the Slayer Statute to Cases of Assisted Suicide 

Third Place Winner:  Emily Tornabene, Arizona State University, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law
To Have and To Hold, and Now a QDRO?


Daniel G. Cronin, Arizona State University, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law
Decanting Trusts: Evolving Law

Kendal R. Dobra, University of Connecticut School of Law
Riding the Digital Wave: An Executor’s Fiduciary Duty toward Digital Assets

Daniel Miller, Arizona State University, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law
How Harmless Is Harmless? An In-Depth Look Into the Harmless Error Rule


2012 Papers

First Place Winner:  Justin Kesselman, New England School of Law
Can State Law Remedies Revive Statutes Stricken by ERISA’s Preemption Provision?

Second Place Winner: Meredith Willsen, Ohio State University, Moritz College of Law
One Small Step for Congress, an Enormous Leap for Surviving Spouses: Proposed Revisions to Increase Reliance on Portability

Third Place Winner: Sarah O’Keefe and Andrew Soresen, Arizona State University, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law
Protecting Privilege After Richey


Erin R. Davis, Case Western Reserve School of Law
Offshore Trusts as Tools & Strategies for Estates of U.S. Residents


2011 Papers

First Place Winner:  Kennedy Lee, Brigham Young University/University of Miami
Representing the Fiduciary – To Whom Does the Attorney Owe Duties?

Second Place Winner:  Joe Ryan Savoie, Texas Tech School of Law
The Commissioners Model of Ante-Mortem Probate

Third Place Winner:  Steve Lamar Dellinger, St. Louis University School of Law
Federal Estate Tax Spousal Portability – An Enormous Leap or a Short Step?


Margo Abouf and Eleen Jackson, Arizona State University
Sixteen and Pregnant: Should Minors with Children be able to Make a Valid Last Will and Testament?

Cara M. Koss, New York University School of Law
The ART of Probate: Cryopreserved Reproductive Materials in the Estate

Shabnam Nouraie, University of Missouri
Out With the Old and In With the New: Comparing and Contrasting Trust Decanting Under State Statutory Law


2010 Papers

First Place Winner:   Daniel L. Ricks, New York University School of Law
I Dig It, But Congress Shouldn’t Let Me: Closing the IDGT Loophole

Second Place Winner:  Jeffrey Allen Hagy, Georgia State University College of Law
Controlling the Dead Hand: Beneficiary Modification of the Perpetual Trust

Third Place Winner:  Alison Atwater, Arizona State University, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law
Re-Thinking the Survivorship Interest Exception


Eric Atstupenas, New England School of Law
The Uncertain Future of Family Limited Partnerships in Estate Tax Planning

Christina Brademas, University of Arizona, James E. Rogers College of Law
Domestic Asset Protection Trusts and Trust Protectors: The Time for Guidance and Accountability is Here

Michael S. Eganhouse, Drake University Law School
Stone Turning to Sand: Grantor Trusts Have a Shaky Legal Foundation