Writing Competition Winners
Writing Competition

Mary Moers Wenig Writing Competition Winners

2022 Competition Winners

Congratulations to our 1st Place Winner: Morgan WahlerUniversity of San Diego School of Law, for The Problem of Charitable Trust Enforcement: Addressing the Insufficiencies of the Attorney General System and Proposing New Law Reform.”

Read about all of our Winners here:

Previous Years Winners
Writing Competition



FirstMorgan Wahler“The Problem of Charitable Trust Enforcement: Addressing the Insufficiencies of the Attorney General System and Proposing New Law Reform”University of San Diego School of Law
SecondVincent Ferry“A Pandemic of Planning: Form Wills and Online Estate Planning in the Era of Coronavirus”Maurice A. Dean School of Law at Hofstra University
ThirdJasmine Sadeghani“Heir(ing) on the Side of Caution: Are Intestacy Laws Too Strict for Posthumous Children Seeking to Inherit Social Security Benefits?”Pepperdine Caruso School of Law


FirstZachary Carsten“Physician-Assisted Death and the Slippery Slope: Carving out an American Ledge”Pepperdine Caruso Law School
SecondMadison L. Orcutt“Blood Does Not Necessarily Make a Family (or Any Fraction Thereof): Intestate Succession, Half-Blood Siblings, and Assisted Reproductive Technology”University of San Diego School of Law
ThirdDaniel Fein“A Defense of Perpetual Trusts”New York University School of Law
Honorable MentionChristopher John Benos “Trust Protectors as Fiduciaries: Three Approaches and Beyond the UDTA”University of Virginia School of Law
Honorable MentionPeter Mezey“On Estate of Elkins and a New Path to Valuation of Collectibles”New York University School of Law


FirstJames (Jack) Spencer“An Alternate Approach to Situs Determination for Partnership Interests”Georgetown University Law Center
SecondLinda Nelte“Advancement and Ademption by Satisfaction: An Empirical Study of Parental Intent”University of San Diego School of Law
Honorable MentionMichelle Huggins King“When Opportunity Funds an Estate: Issues Presented in Estate Planning by an Interest in a Qualified Opportunity Fund Passing Due to an Investor’s Death Prior to December 31, 2026 or an Inclusion Event and a Comparison of Planning Vehicles to Alleviate Tax Burdens to Beneficiaries”Georgetown University Law Center
Honorable MentionDrake Frikken and Nabeal Sunna“Unjust Enrichment – Another Unfortunate Effect of Suicide in the United States?”Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University


FirstRobert Daily“The Lender Loophole & the Deductibility of Investment Expenses in Family Offices”University of Georgia School of Law
SecondScott J. Lee“The Kaestner Trust Case — Due Process and State Taxation of Non-Resident Trustees”Georgetown University School of Law
ThirdRyan F. Bender“A Philanthropist Cloaked by Fog — Scofield Thayer and Lessons on Testamentary Capacity”New York University School of Law
Honorable MentionAlissa Mack“A Review of the Revised Uniform Limited Liability Company Act: The Good, the Bad and Your Operating Agreement”Arizona State University, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law
Honorable MentionGabriel Slamovits“Cadaver Donations in the Jewish Legal System”New York University School of Law


FirstNicole M. Paschoal“The Problem of Replacement Property in the Law of Ademption”University of San Diego School of Law
SecondCourtney Bravo“Stepfamilies & Intestacy Law: A Proposal for Stepparent and Stepchild Inheritance”University of San Diego School of Law
ThirdAmanda Leckman“Does Escheat Cheat Decedents?”University of San Diego School of Law


FirstShawn Irwin Walker"Over My Dead Body: Preventing and Resolving Disputes Regarding the Disposition of the Dead"University of Oregon School of Law
SecondJadrian Michael Coppieters"The Omitted Spouse: New Estate Planning Techniques for Jewish Clients"Georgetown University Law Center
Honorable MentionAngela Bowen"You Can Have the Car, Just Not the DAPT: Domestic Asset Protection Trusts and the Distribution of Property Upon Divorce"Brigham Young University – J. Reuben Clark Law School
Honorable MentionNathan Kiyam"Estate Taxes and Disclaimers Involving Charities"University of San Diego School of Law
Honorable MentionDanielle Schiffman"Trustee Delegation of Investment Management Duties and the Varying Effects on Beneficiaries"University of Florida Levin College of Law


FirstBenjamin Joseph Imdieke“A Nominal Credit: Why Donor Recognition Should Not Limit the Deductibility of Section 170 Charitable Contributions”University of Michigan Law School
SecondMargaret Claire Osswald“Custom Made Conservation: Resource Specific Conservation Easement Implementation Un-paves the Path of Tax Abuse”University of Utah – SJ Quinney College of Law
ThirdMaria Bourdeau“The Meek Shall Inherit the Earth with a Stepped-up Basis: Alternatives to Stepped-Up Basis at Death”Notre Dame Law School
Honorable MentionKatie Lepore“Grantor Retained Trusts: Closing the Loopholes with the Elimination of Zeroed-Out GRTs Does Not Require a Minimum Ten-Year Term”University of San Diego School of Law
Honorable MentionEmily Robey-Phillips“Reducing Litigation Costs for Holographic Wills”Harvard Law School


FirstDavid Berke“Family Values: An Evaluation of Internal Revenue Code Sections 2703 and 2704(b)”Yale Law School
SecondChristopher Weeg“The Private Trust Company - A DIY for the Über Wealthy”University of Florida Levin College of Law
Honorable MentionBeth J. Kerwin“President Obama's Proposal to Tax Capital Gains at Death - What Happens in Canada Stays in Canada?”New York University School of Law
Honorable MentionCharles E. Mcwilliams, Jr.“Constitutional Challenges to State Taxation of Non-Grantor Trusts”Georgetown University Law Center
Honorable MentionGurney Pearsall“Presumed Abuse: Restoring Elder Justice in the 21st Century by Enacting a Presumption of Abuse and Disinheriting Abusers”University of Colorado Law School


FirstAbigail Farmer & Cory Elizabeth Tyszka“Virtual Currency Estate Planning, Bit by Bit”Arizona State Univ., Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law
SecondKatie Magallanes“Beyond Donor Intent - Leveraging Cy Pres to Remedy Unintended Burdens Caused by Charitable Gifts ”University of San Diego School of Law
ThirdKevin William Wright“The History and Future of the Delaware Tax Trap ”Arizona State University, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law
Honorable MentionChristopher W. Morgan“Elder Financial Exploitation: How Jurisdictional Uniformity will Aid in the Prevention and Punishment of Abuse”Arizona State University, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law


FirstChristopher J. Roman“Protecting Your Clients’ Assets from their Future Ex-Sons and Daughters-In-Law: The Impact of Evolving Trust Laws on Alimony Awards”Villanova Law School
SecondRyan Konsdorf & Scott Alden Prulhiere“Killing Your Chances of Inheriting: The Problem with the Application of the Slayer Statute to Cases of Assisted Suicide”Arizona State University, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law
ThirdEmily Tornabene“To Have and To Hold, and Now a QDRO”Arizona State University, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law
Honorable MentionDaniel G. Cronin“Decanting Trusts: Evolving Law”Arizona State University, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law
Honorable MentionKendal R. Dobra“Riding the Digital Wave: An Executor’s Fiduciary Duty toward Digital Assets”University of Connecticut School of Law
Honorable MentionDaniel Miller“How Harmless Is Harmless? An In-Depth Look Into the Harmless Error Rule”Arizona State University, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law


FirstJustin Kesselman“Can State Law Remedies Revive Statutes Stricken by ERISA’s Preemption Provision?”New England School of Law
SecondMeredith Willsen“One Small Step for Congress, an Enormous Leap for Surviving Spouses: Proposed Revisions to Increase Reliance on Portability”Ohio State University, Moritz College of Law
ThirdSarah O’keefe & Andrew Soresen“Protecting Privilege After Richey”Arizona State University, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law
Honorable MentionErin R. Davis“Offshore Trusts as Tools & Strategies for Estates of U.S. Residents”Case Western Reserve School of Law


FirstKennedy Lee“Representing the Fiduciary: To Whom Does the Attorney Owe Duties?”Brigham Young University
SecondJoe Ryan Savoie“The Commissioner’s Model of Ante-Mortem Probate”Texas Tech School of Law
ThirdSteve Lamar Dellinger“Federal Estate Tax Spousal Portability: An Enormous Leap or a Short Step?”St. Louis Univ. School of Law
Honorable MentionMargo Abouaf & Ellen Jackson“Sixteen and Pregnant: Should Minors with Children be Able to Make a Valid Last Will and Testament?”Arizona State University
Honorable MentionF. Shabnam Nouraie“Out With the Old and In With the New: Comparing and Contrasting Trust Decanting Under State Statutory Law”Univ. Of Missouri-Columbia School of Law
Honorable MentionCara M. Koss“The ART of Probate: Cryopreserved Reproductive Materials in the Estate”New York Univ. School of Law


FirstDaniel L. Ricks“I Dig It, But Congress Shouldn't Let Me: Closing the IDGT Loophole”New York University School of Law
SecondJeffrey Allen Hagy“Controlling the Dead Hand: Beneficiary Modification of the Perpetual Trust”Georgia State Univ. College of Law
ThirdAlison Atwater“Re-Thinking the Survivorship Interest Exclusion for Joint Tenancies of Real Estate Under UPC 6-102”Arizona State Univ. College of Law
Honorable MentionMichael S. Eganhouse“Stone Turning to Sand: Grantor Trusts Have a Shaky Legal Foundation”Drake Univ. Law School
Honorable MentionChristina Brademas“Domestic Asset Protection Trusts and Trust Protectors: The Time for Guidance and Accountability Is Here”Univ. Of Arizona, Rogers College of Law
Honorable MentionEric Atstupenas“The Uncertain Future of Family Limited Partnerships in Estate Tax Planning ”New England School of Law


FirstAdam Winger“Pick On Someone Your Own Size: Exposing the Account Owners, Silent Assault on §529 Savings Accounts”Georgia State University/New York University
SecondGil Ghatan“The Incentive Problem with Prospective Overruling: a Critique of the Practice Using the Trusts & Estates Opinions of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court”New York University School of Law
ThirdRachel Clattenburg“Murphy v Murphy: Shielding Estate Plans from Future Challenges”Albany Law School
Honorable MentionMichelle Delappe“Chasing Fair Tax Treatment at the End of the Rainbow: Advising Domestic Partners with Community Property”University of Washington School of Law
Honorable MentionLevi Hatch“Have We Forgotten That Electronic Wills Are Electronic?”Arizona State University
Honorable MentionMaureen Beaver (Co-Author Justin Owen)“Trust Privacy: An Intensive Analysis of Notice Provisions”Capital University Law School
Honorable MentionJustin Owen (Co-Author Maureen Beaver)“Trust Privacy: An Intensive Analysis of Notice Provisions”Capital University Law School


FirstJordan Taylor“What's the Big Deal? Why Taxpayers, the Courts and the IRS Disagree about a Discount for Built-in Gains”Georgetown Univ. Law Center
SecondMalinda Heyes“Will the Father of this Child Please Stand-up?”Florida State Univ. College of Law
ThirdAmy Smith“Curbing the License to Steal: A Discussion of English Law and Possible Reforms for the Durable Power of Attorney”DePaul Univ. College of Law
Honorable MentionJason Boblick“Unanticipated Disability: Trust Modification When Disability Strikes”Arizona State Univ. College of Law
Honorable MentionGreg J. Carlson“Coordinating and Simplifying the Estates, Gift and Income Tax Systems”Univ. Of California, Hastings College of Law


FirstScott Andrew Bowman“McCord V. Commissioner: Defined Value Clauses Redefined?”University of Florida Levin College of Law
SecondMarcus Contro“If You Don't Use It, You Lose It. Or Do You?: Marital Planning in a World of Portable Credits”University of California Hastings College of Law
ThirdJessica Frase Marine“Curtailing Inheritance: Replacing the Current Federal Transfer Tax System with an Income-Inclusive Tax”University of Baltimore School of Law
Honorable MentionSamuel G. Wieczorek“Winokur, Lose, or Draw: Art Collectors Lose an Important Tax Break”Loyola University Chicago School of Law
Honorable MentionDonald Richard Scott & Daniel Bradley Zebelman“Promissory Note Sales to IDGT: When Grantor Dies with Note Outstanding”Arizona State University Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law
Honorable MentionAaron C. Huber“Using a Buy-Sell Agreement to Pass Business Interests on to Related Parties”Arizona State University Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law
Honorable MentionKirsten M. Elliott“ADR Gone Wild!: One State's Experience with a Radical Trust and Estate Dispute Resolution Act”Gonzaga University School of Law


FirstMichael A. Passananti“Domestic Asset Protection Trusts: The Risks & Roadblocks Which May Hinder Their Effectiveness”Mike Passananti attended Augustana College, where he graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in finance. Mike received his J.D. in May, 2006, from depaul College of Law. Mike hopes to practice law in Chicago with a concentration in business and estate planning.
SecondTimothy A. Dufault“Donee Beware: Collateral Consequences of Family Limited Partnership Planning”Timothy attended Washington State University, where he earned a B.S. in Agribusiness, with Spanish as a second major. Timothy received his J.D. in May, 2006, from the University Of Arizona James E. Rogers College Of Law, where his professors honored him as the top tax student in his graduating class. He hopes to practice law in Yakima, Washington, with a concentration in corporate law and estate and tax planning.
ThirdRichard A. Devries“What a Long Strangi Trip Its Been: Family Limited Partnerships and Section 2036 of the Internal Revenue Code”Richard graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 1996 with a degree in Structural Engineering. He is currently a part-time student at Marquette University Law School and expects to receive his J.D. in August 2006. He plans on practicing law in Milwaukee in the areas of Estate and Tax Planning.
Honorable MentionCandace Howard“From Markham to Marshall: Why the Probate Exception Should be Narrowly Construed”Candace earned a B.A. in Studio Art from the University of Maryland. She received her J.D. in May, 2006 from the University Of Maryland School Of Law, where she was an Associate Editor of the Maryland Law Review. Candace was the 2006 winner of the Roscoe Hogan Environmental Law Essay Contest and a Presidential Management Fellowship finalist. She is currently pursuing a fellowship appointment with a federal agency.


FirstLayne T. Smith“flps and the 2036(a) Bona Fide Sale Exception”Layne earned his J.D. from the J. Reuben Clark Law School at Brigham Young University and has joined Wood Crapo LLC in Salt Lake City.
SecondAllyson Belt“Medicaid Estate Planning: A Review of the Ethical Considerations of Practicing Medicaid Estate Planning in the Area of Elder Law”Allyson is a student at Arizona State University. She expects to graduate in 2006.
ThirdChris Suffecool“Organ Transplants, the Uniform Anatomical Gifts Act and Probate Law: Is It Time for a New Approach?”Chris recently graduated from Arizona State University and plans to practice in Arizona.


FirstTye J. Klooster“Are There Any Justifications for the Rule Against Perpetuities That Are Still Persuasive? A Survey of the Modern Policy Arguments Cast for and Against Retention of the Rule Against Perpetuities”Tye attended the University of Iowa, where he earned a B.B.A. in Finance. He received his J.D. in May, 2003, from Drake University Law School and was the Editor in Chief of the Drake Law Review. In May, 2004, he received his Masters of Laws in Taxation (LL.M.) from the NYU School of Law. Tye will be joining Holland & Knight LLP as a member of the Private Wealth Services practice group in their Tampa Bay offices.
SecondLauren D. Burger Krauthamer“The Limitation that Hackl Creates for Family Limited Partnerships Interests and Ways to Plan in Lieu of the Decision”Lauren graduated from Emory University in 1996. She earned her J.D. in May 1999 from American University Washington College of Law and her M.B.A. in December 1999 from American University Kogod School of Business. In May, 2004, she received her Master of Laws in Taxation (LL.M.) from Georgetown University Law Center. Lauren is an associate at the firm of Pasternak & Fidis, P.C., in Bethesda, Maryland. She practices in the areas of federal and state taxation, with a particular focus on estate planning.
ThirdCheri L. Riedel“The Impact of Modern Reproductive Technology on the Law of Probate: 'Frozen Pops' and Inheritance”Cheri graduated from Murray State University in in Murray Kentucky in 2001 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science. She earned her J.D. from the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law in May, 2004. Cheri recently completed a year-long judicial clerkship with ACTEC Fellow Judge Robert Benham of Division I of the Shelby County Probate Court. She hopes to practice law in Memphis with a concentration in Estate Planning.