A Will to be Interpreted
Molly McKee
"A client of mine," said a lawyer, "was on the point of death when his wife was about to present him with a child. I drew up his will, in which he settled two-thirds of his estate upon his son (if it should happen to be a boy) and one-third on the mother. But if the child should be a girl, then two-thirds would go to the mother and one-third to the daughter."

"As fate would have it, after his death, twins were born -- a boy and a girl. A legal point then arose. How was the estate to be equitably divided among the three -- the mother, the son, and the daughter -- in the closest possible accordance with the spirit of the dead man's will?"
Develop an argument from the point of view of a judge who must weigh all of the alternatives and decide what is in closest possible accordance with the spirit of the dead man's will.
The Problem
If the child was a boy:
1. The boy would receive 2 times that of his mother
2. Son to Mother = 2:1

If the child was a girl:
1. The mother would receive 2 times that of her daughter
2. Mother to Daughter = 2:1

So, Son to Mother to Daughter = 4:2:1
In order for the estate to reflect the will, the man’s estate should be divided into 7 equal portions
1. The Mother would receive 2 of the seven portions
2. The Son would receive 4 of the seven portions
3. The Daughter would receive 1 of the seven portions
If both of the children were boys:
1. Each boy would receive 2 times that of his mother
2. Son to Son to Mother = 2:2:1

In order for the estate to reflect the will, the man’s estate should be divided into 5 equal portions
1. The Mother would receive 1 of the five portions
2. Each Son would receive 2 of the five portions
If both of the children were girls:
1. The Mother would receive 2 times more than each of the Daughters
2. Mother to Daughter to Daughter = 2:1:1

In order for the estate to reflect the will, the man’s estate should be divided into 4 equal portions
1. The Mother would receive 2 of the four portions
2. Each Daughter would receive 1 of the four portions
Extensions