May 18, 2018     
Contact: Abby Matienzo, Communications Manager
       703-942-5711 #230

NAELA Announces Winner of National Writing Award
Co-Authors Marielle F. Hazen, CELA, and Shirley Berger Whitenack, CAP, NAELA Fellow, Receive John J. Regan Writing Award

Washington, DC — The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) proudly announced that Marielle F. Hazen, CELA (Harrisburg, Penn.) and Shirley Berger Whitenack, CAP, NAELA Fellow (Florham Park, N.J.) received the award for their article, “The Fiduciary Pitfalls of Managing Special Needs Trusts That Own Real Estate,” published in the Spring 2017 NAELA Journal. The article provides an excellent discussion of the difficult issues that arise when managing real estate in a special needs trust. The article is well-researched, well-written, and provides a concise overview of the subject. In addition to the thoroughness of the research, the article is written with clarity so that it’s accessible even for clients who are not professional trustees and professional trustees who are not necessarily well-versed in administration of special needs trusts.

The Regan Writing Award was established in 1996 in memory of John J. Regan — a long-time NAELA member and Fellow, and a pioneer in Elder Law — and is meant to encourage quality submissions to NAELA Journal from NAELA members and non-members.

About the Authors
Marielle F. Hazen, CELA, is the founder of Hazen Law Group in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, a firm dedicated to the practice of elder law and special needs planning, estate planning, tax planning, and estate administration. She is a past president and one of the founding members of the Pennsylvania Chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA), Pennsylvania Association of Elder Law Attorneys (PAELA). She is a past chair of the Elder Law Section of the Pennsylvania Bar Association. Ms. Hazen is a past president and member of the Board of Directors of the Special Needs Alliance. She participates on NAELA’s Grassroots Advocacy Committee. She is actively involved in the legislative advocacy activities of PAELA, the PBA Elder Law Section, the Special Needs Alliance, and NAELA.

Shirley B. Whitenack, Esq., CAP, is a partner at Schenck, Price, Smith & King, LLP with offices in Florham Park and Paramus, New Jersey. Ms. Whitenack devotes a substantial portion of her practice to trust and estate litigation and elder law and special needs planning. Ms. Whitenack is a Fellow of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA), is a NAELA past president, and is a member of NAELA’s Council of Advanced Practitioners (CAP).

NAELA Journal is a publication of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. It covers substantive Elder and Special Needs Law topics including preservation of assets, Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, disability, health insurance, tax planning, conservatorships, living trusts and wills, long-term care planning, housing and nursing home issues, elder abuse, fraud recovers, age discrimination, and retirement.


Members of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) are attorneys who are experienced and trained in working with the legal problems of aging Americans and individuals of all ages with disabilities. Upon joining, NAELA member attorneys agree to adhere to the NAELA Aspirational Standards. Established in 1987, NAELA is a non-profit association that assists lawyers, bar organizations, and others. The mission of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys is educate, inspire, serve, and provide community to attorneys with practices in elder and special needs law. NAELA currently has members across the United States, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom. For more information, visit

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