Official Rules

Writing Competition

Mary Moers Wenig Competition Official Rules (2024)

Description of Competition: The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC) announces The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel Foundation Mary Moers Wenig 2024 Student Writing Competition. This competition was created by ACTEC’s Legal Education Committee, which consists of law school professors who teach in the area of trusts and estates and practitioners who teach as adjuncts in the trusts and estates field. The competition honors the late Mary Moers Wenig, a member of ACTEC’s Legal Education Committee, who was a law school professor for over 30 years.

Consistent with The ACTEC Foundation’s purposes, The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel Foundation Mary Moers Wenig Student Writing Competition was created to encourage and reward scholarly works in the area of trusts and estates. ACTEC’s purposes are to maintain an association of lawyers, international in scope, skilled and experienced in the preparation of wills and trusts; estate planning; probate procedure and administration of trusts and estates of decedents, minors and incompetents; to improve and reform probate, trust and tax laws, procedures, and professional responsibility, to bring together qualified lawyers whose character and ability will contribute to the achievement of the purposes of the College; and to cooperate with bar associations and other organizations with similar purposes. The funding for the competition will be provided by The ACTEC Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public charity that supports educational projects relating to trust and estate law.

Eligibility: This competition is open to any law student in good standing (full-time or part-time) who is currently enrolled at the time of submission or was a student within the past 90-day period prior to submission as a J.D. or LL.M. candidate in an ABA-accredited law school within the United States or its possessions.

Only papers that have not been previously published are eligible. Papers accepted for publication, but not yet published, are eligible, as are papers prepared for law school credit. In all cases, the paper submitted must be the entrant’s sole, original, work. Although the entrant may obtain some guidance from others, the ideas and work reflected by each essay must be the entrant’s own. The entrant must perform all of the key tasks of identifying the topic, researching it, analyzing it, formulating positions and arguments, and writing and revising the essay. The entrant may provide a draft of the paper to another person, and accept a reasonable amount of responsive advice. For example, the entrant may obtain a professor’s opinion that a proposed topic is a good choice, that a detailed outline should be reorganized or that a first draft unwisely omits to cover a subtopic or to raise and respond to criticisms of the entrant’s thesis. The entrant must limit the amount of such advice sought or received, so that the final paper truly reflects the entrant’s own ideas and work, not another’s. Unless a work is co- authored, each entry shall be the original work of a single individual. A co-authored paper by no more than two individuals is acceptable provided the paper submitted is the original work of the co-authors.

Entrants are limited to one submission per year.

Area and Topics: The paper must relate to the area of trusts and estates, broadly defined. Any one or more of the following topics are appropriate for discussion:

  • Business Planning
  • Charitable Planning
  • Elder Law
  • Employee Benefits
  • Fiduciary Accounting
  • Fiduciary Administration
  • Fiduciary Income Taxation
  • Fiduciary Litigation
  • Estate Planning and Drafting
  • Professional Responsibility
  • Substantive Laws for the Gratuitous Transmission of Property
  • Wealth Transfer Taxation (Estate, Gift and GST Tax)

Note: Entrants should write on issues of general interest, rather than state-specific issues. Entrants should only write on issues within a topic (e.g., business planning, employee benefits, professional responsibility or elder law) that are specifically relevant to the trusts and estates area.

Format: The body of the paper must be between twenty and thirty double-spaced pages in length and should be formatted on 8 ½” x 11” paper, with one-inch margins. In addition, endnotes, not to exceed an additional five single-spaced pages in length, should be formatted on 8 ½” x 11” paper, with one-inch margins. The type for both the body of the paper and the endnotes should be in 12 point Times New Roman or Times Roman font. Entrants should write papers in traditional law review style, presenting a scholarly discussion with full citation to authority in endnotes. Style must conform to the current edition of The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation.

Submission Rules: Submit the following:

  • Put only the title to the paper and the last 4 digits of your social security number (or numbers) on the Your name is not to be on any copy of the paper submitted. This will assure that papers are graded anonymously.
  • An official entry form, which includes a publication and liability release form. The form is available from the public side of The ACTEC Foundation’s website at org.
  • Email paper in either MS Word or PDF, and scanned entry form to: Amy Michaud at michaud@actec.org.

Deadline for submission: The submission must be received on or before June 30, 2024. An otherwise eligible submission will be considered as part of any 2024 writing competition if it is received after June 30, 2023 and before June 30, 2024 by a law student who was in good standing at an ABA-accredited law school within the United States or its possessions law at the time the paper was submitted (or within 90 days prior to its submission).

Prior Publication: If a paper has been accepted for publication at the time of submission to this competition, such acceptance must be disclosed at the time of submission. If a paper is accepted for publication after having been submitted to this competition, the individual (or co- authors) must immediately notify Amy Michaud at amy.michaud@actec.org of this fact. The paper’s acceptance for publication elsewhere will not preclude its continued consideration for prize purposes. However, the Editors of the ACTEC Law Journal shall have discretion to decide if an entry accepted for publication elsewhere will remain eligible for publication in the ACTEC Law Journal.

Effect of Submission: By submitting the paper and official entry form, the entrant agrees that (1) the entrant has read the competition rules and accepts the conditions stated; (2) the paper is one written by the entrant (or is one co-authored by the entrants); (3) the entrant releases ACTEC and The ACTEC Foundation from all liability; and (4) the entrant releases the use of his or her paper and name for publication in any medium and for editorial, advertising, and promotional usage, without compensation, in connection with the promotion of this writing competition and succeeding writing competitions sponsored by ACTEC and The ACTEC Foundation.

Note: In compliance with Tennessee law, the entry form for Tennessee residents will exclude the requirement that the entrants allow the use of their names in any medium, and for editorial, advertising, and promotional usage, without compensation, in connection with the promotion by ACTEC and The ACTEC Foundation and succeeding writing competitions sponsored by ACTEC and The ACTEC Foundation.

Tennessee residents please contact Amy Michaud to obtain the appropriate entry form. Ms. Michaud’s email address is amy.michaud@actec.org.

Papers will not be returned. 


Judging: The papers will be judged anonymously by a panel of judges who will be appointed by ACTEC’s Legal Education Committee. The judges will include Academic Fellows of ACTEC, other ACTEC Fellows and a member of the editorial board of the ACTEC Law Journal.

The papers will be judged on the basis of research and analysis, choice of topic, writing style, originality, and contribution to the literature available on the topic. If there are suitable submissions, a national first, second, and third-place winner will be selected on or before September 3, 2024. If there are not suitable submissions, the judges may decide not to select first, second or third-place winners. In addition, the judges may select one or more papers to receive an honorable mention prize. The decision of the judges shall be final.