FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Washington, DC, September 26, 2023: John T. Rogers, Jr., President of The ACTEC Foundation, and Elizabeth A. Bawden and Gerry W. Beyer, Co-Chairs of the Legal Education Committee of The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC), are pleased to announce the winners of the 2023 Mary Moers Wenig Student Writing Competition.
The Legal Education Committee focuses on the quality and relevance of trust and estate courses offered in law schools, strategies for incorporating skills training into courses, ideas for mentoring new lawyers in estate planning, the role of adjunct professors, and trust-and estate-related scholarship, case law, statutory law, and current developments. The committee oversees the Mary Moers Wenig Student Writing Competition and organizes an every-other-year academic symposium on a topic related to estate planning.
The panel of ACTEC Fellows who served as judges included Gerry W. Beyer, Karen Elizabeth Boxx, Jeffrey A. Cooper, Skip Fox, Wendy Gerzog, Anne-Marie Rhodes, Barbara A. Sloan, Douglas Stanley, John (Jack) A. Terrill, and Leonard (Lenny) J. Witman.
Three law students’ submissions stood out among the entries received and reviewed by a panel of ACTEC Fellows.
Submissions came from students attending the following law schools:
- Arizona State University Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law
- Brigham Young University J. Reuben Clark Law School
- Campbell University Law School
- Louisiana State University Paul M. Hebert Law Center
- Loyola University Chicago School of Law
- Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University
- Pepperdine Caruso School of Law
T. Randolph Harris, who chaired the judging process on behalf of the Legal Education Committee, offers: “As is the case every year, the selected papers were outstanding, and reflected novel approaches to thorny trust & estate issues.”
The ACTEC Foundation supports the annual legal writing competition to encourage law students to create scholarly works in the area of trusts and estates. The first-place winner receives a full-tuition scholarship to the Heckerling Graduate Program in Estate Planning at the University of Miami School of Law for the 2024-2025 or the 2025-2026 academic year, a $5,000 cash award and will have their work published in the ACTEC Law Journal. (Candidates must apply and be admitted as full-time students to qualify for the scholarship.) The second-place winner receives a $3,000 cash award, online publication — featuring their work on ACTEC’s website, and possible publication in the ACTEC Law Journal. Honorable mentions receive a $500 cash award.
The 2023 Mary Moers Wenig Student Writing Competition Winners are:
FIRST PLACE WINNER:
Aaron Anderson for: “Resolving Unfairness in a Fair Way: How the Grantor Trust Rules Should be Reformed”
Brigham Young University J. Reuben Clark Law School
“What an honor it is to be selected as the winner of the 2023 Mary Moers Wenig Student Writing Competition! I am grateful to The ACTEC Foundation for providing this opportunity. I thank Professor Rust Tippett for encouraging me to submit my article. I hope it contributes to the ongoing conversation about reforming the grantor trust rules,” said Anderson.
SECOND PLACE WINNER:
Ryan D. Tosto for: “Unpacking the Digital Vault: Estate Planning Considerations for Non-Fungible Tokens"
Arizona State University Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law
“I am deeply honored to be awarded second place in the 2023 Mary Moers Wenig Student Writing Competition. My heartfelt thanks go out to the panel of judges and the staff for this recognition, and to the editors of the ACTEC Law Journal for consideration of publication. I hope my paper serves as a valuable resource, shedding light on the issues specifically relevant to NFTs and digital assets in the area of trusts and estates,” said Tosto.
HONORABLE MENTION WINNER:
Katie Giron for: "Frozen Embryo Disposition After Death and Dobbs: Applying Testamentary Guardianship for Embryos in 'Personhood' States"
Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University
“I am grateful to be awarded an honorable mention in the 2023 Mary Moers Wenig Writing Competition. Thank you to the judges, and to the editors of the ACTEC Law Journal for their consideration of my article. I hope my article will spark a conversation about the implications of granting 'personhood' status to cryopreserved embryos in the field of trust and estate law,” said Giron.
About The ACTEC Foundation: The ACTEC Foundation is the philanthropic arm of The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC). The Foundation is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3), that promotes scholarship and education for families and professionals and supports students interested in the trust and estate area of the law. Through continued financial support, The ACTEC Foundation offers professional development, scholarships, and education for a number of important efforts, including legal education, educational support, public initiatives, legal publications and the student editorial board for the ACTEC Law Journal.
About The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC): Established in 1949, The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC) is a national, nonprofit association of approximately 2,500 lawyers and law professors from throughout the United States and abroad. ACTEC members (Fellows) are peer-elected on the basis of professional reputation and expertise in the preparation of wills and trusts, estate planning, probate, trust administration and related practice areas. The College’s mission includes the improvement and reform of probate, trust and tax laws and procedures and professional practice standards. ACTEC frequently offers technical comments with regard to legislation and regulations but does not take positions on matters of policy or political objectives.
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