The Old Man's Will

Jun 06, 2020

RAY: This is from Paul Mulick.

Old Mr. Jones lies gasping on his deathbed, just as his wife-- his very young wife-- is about to give birth to their first child. The family lawyer, Hugh Louis Dewey, is summoned so that Mr. Jones can 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.

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

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