Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Monday, August 14, 2006

The Story of Mary Ellen Bendtsen

The Dallas Morning News is running a comprehensive four-part special report about Mary Ellen Bendtsen described as follows:

The story of Mary Ellen Bendtsen is not just a private tragedy. Experts estimate that one in five elderly Americans will be victims of some form of financial exploitation, losing at least a third of their assets. For each case reported to authorities, 12 to 15 cases are believed to go unreported.

Part I, published August 13, 2006, is described as:

The world Mary Ellen Bendtsen created for herself revolves around 4949 Swiss Ave. As she grows older and the demands of maintaining the aging mansion rise, her grasp on that world weakens. Are Mark McCay and Justin Burgess an answer to her problems, or something more sinister?

Part II, published August 14, 2006, is described as:

An intricate dance begins between Mrs. Bendtsen, Mr. McCay and Mr. Burgess. For a while, she keeps them at arm's length, even while enjoying their help and attention. But when an unexpected calamity occurs, Mrs. Bendtsen's carefully constructed world is threatened.

Part III, to be published August 15, 2006, is described as:

Mrs. Bendtsen's future depends on 32 critical hours. What happens during that brief window in time will decide her fate, for better or worse.

Part IV, to be published August 16, 2006, is described as:

Who will claim 4949 Swiss? More importantly, who will protect Mrs. Bendtsen as she faces her most devastating crisis?

Special thanks to Laura Gibson for bringing this story to my attention.


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This was a great story about Mary Ellen. Any update on McCay and Burgess. I haven't seen anything on the web since 2006

Posted by: George Cavanagh | Mar 4, 2008 2:50:17 AM

the house is still for sale!

great story, and a lesson on the holes in vulnerable adult laws

Posted by: Kristin Gravatt | Jun 25, 2008 2:11:01 PM

Mssrs. McCay and Burgess are in no way holding up the sale of 4949. In fact they offered to pay more for the house than anyone at a mediation. The daughter refused to allow the sale to them, even though it would have been the responsibility of the temporary administrator. The daughter can no longer find a buyer for $865,000 and knows that when she eventually sells, she still owes her attorneys more than $400,000. She did inform everyone at mediation that she was JUDGEMENT PROOF! She has since moved to PA.

Posted by: Peter Cord | Nov 6, 2008 3:42:23 PM

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