Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Fight Over Mary Ellen Bendtsen's Estate, Part 2

Estate DisputeAs I have previously discussed, there is a dispute over the estate of Mary Ellen Bendtsen involving two deco antique dealers, Mark McCay and Justin Burgess. Now, the trial of Mark McCay has begun. McCay is charged with attempted theft of assets. Additionally, McCay and two other defendants are accused of conspiring to have Mary Ellen Bendtsen sign a will that would alter the previous distribution of assets to leave her mansion at 4949 Swiss Avenue in Dallas, TX to McCay instead of her daughter.

At the hearing this past week, the court heard from several witness; however, two witnesses stood out among the group: Danielle Verot and Francis Ann Giron.

  • Danielle Verot was a guest at the party held by Mr. McCay. The testimony given by Ms. Verot suggested that how Ms. Bendtsen was treated seemed characteristic of a typical probate abuse case. According to the testimony of Ms. Verot, Ms. Bendtsen seemed "weak" and she seemed as if she was unaware of her surroundings and even startled by them. Ms. Verot testified that it seemed as if Ms. Bendtsen was not part of the party even though the party was thrown to celebrate her return to her home. She also testified that Mr. McCay was interested in her expertise as a home renovation contractor in that he wanted to know the cost of remodeling Ms. Bendtsen's home. 
  • Ms. Bendtsen's daughter, Francis Ann Giron, also appeared before the court. Ms. Giron collaborated what most accounts have stated about Ms. Bendtsen's relationship with her. She testified that her and mother had a close relationship, even when they were apart. Ms. Giron testified that she always tired to maintain contact with her mother. Ms. Giron also testified to what happened with her mother's power of attorney. In January of 2005, Ms. Bendtsen was hospitalized after suffering a gash to her eyebrow from a fall. After this instance, her daughter drew up a power of attorney to make medical decisions for her mother. She would later learn that Mr. McCay became Ms. Bendtsen's power of attorney. This change prevented her from visiting her mother in the hospital in February of 2005. In fact, she was denied admission to see her mother until a court order allowed her visitation rights. Her testimony combined with the testimony given by Ms. Bendtsen's doctor, Dr. James D'Etienne, gave an interesting view of the what occurred and seemed to corroborate the strangeness of the situation.

See Mary Ellen Bendtsen Estate Case Alleges Conspiracy of Exploitation, Attempted 4949 Swiss Ave. Theft by McCay, Friends, Estate of Denial, June 15, 2012.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.)) for bringing this article to my attention.


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