Hugh Louis Dewey and the Last Will and Testament

Apr 17, 2006

RAY: This just came in! The date on the letter is December, 2002. It's from Paul Mulick. Here we go:

Old Mr. Jones lay gasping on his deathbed, just as his wife-- his very young wife-- was about to give birth to their first child.

The family lawyer, Hugh Louis Dewey, was summoned so that Mr. Jones could recite his last will and testament-- because he's going to have a new member of the family.

Mr. Jones says to the lawyer, 'If my child is a boy, then I will leave 2/3 of my estate to my son, and 1/3 to my wife. If my child is a girl, then I leave 2/3 of my estate to my wife, and 1/3 to my daughter.'

I don't know why he chose to do this, but this is Mr. Jones, and it's his business.

So, Mr. Dewey creates the document on his laptop computer and prints it out, so Jones can sign it. Mr. Jones grips the pen weakly in his shaking hand. He applies his signature to the will, and then, lights out for Mr. Jones. He croaks.

TOM: Twins?

RAY: How'd you guess? Moments later, with the help of the attending midwife, Mrs. Jones gives birth to twins. One boy and one girl.

If you are Hugh Louis Dewey, how would you divide the estate?
RAY: It's pretty clear that Jones wanted his son to receive twice as much as the wife, right?

TOM: Right.

RAY: And he also wanted the wife to receive twice as much as the daughter.

TOM: I'm still with you!

RAY: So, the son gets four-sevenths, and the wife gets two sevenths which is half as much as the son. And the daughter? She gets one seventh, which is half as much as the wife.

Four sevenths, two sevenths, one seventh add up to what? Seven sevenths.

Pretty good, eh?

TOM: That is good.

RAY: Do we have a winner?

TOM: Yah, we got a winner. The winner is Mark Conway from Methuen, Massachusetts. Hey, we got a Massachusetts winner! And for having his answer selected at random from among all the correct answers that we got, Mark is going to get a 26-dollar gift certificate to the Shameless Commerce Division at, with which he can get an authentic Car Talk baseball jersey. It's ash gray with black sleeves and red scripted baseball style letters across the front that say, Car Talk Plaza, Our Fair City. Do they all say Bench Warmer on the back?

RAY: No, just yours.

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