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Uncle Joe’s death:

The year-long unsettled dilemma

By Raymond L. Adams, CFP®, CLU, ChFC


When Uncle Joe passed away, he left meticulous instructions in his “Will” that before any of his other assets were to be distributed among the family members that first the herd of horses needed to be divided according to his written wishes.

Unfortunately, this proved to be much more difficult than anyone could have imagined. You see, at the time of his death the herd was down to only 17 horses; and Uncle Joe’s “Will” clearly stated that the “herd” was to be divided among three nephews as follows: Manny was to get 1/2 of the horses, Moe 1/3rd, and Jack 1/9th. Moreover, the “Will’ was specific in that there was to be no harm done to any of the horses when the distribution occurred, and it was to be done exactly as the “Will” stipulated.


What would you do? How do you divide 1/2, 1/3rd , and 1/9th of 17? Well, neither the courts, the attorneys, nor the family members could move forward. Weeks turned into months without a resolution. The whole town knew about it. A handsome reward was even offered to anyone who could unravel this unfortunate situation.


One afternoon, an old wise friend of Uncle Joe’s  came riding up on his horse to see how the nephews were all doing; after exchanging some pleasantries, the friend was presented the predicament the family was up against—that of dividing up the horses. “How can we divide 17 horses: 1/2, 1/3rd, 1/9th?” The rancher friend said, “Well, your uncle Joe gave me this horse years ago as a gift; let me return it to you right now, and let’s see if that will help solve this situation.”

Well, he stood there while the nephews thought it through. They now had 18 horses: their uncle’s 17 plus the friend’s horse. They did the math: 1/2 of 18 =9; 1/3 of 18=6; and1/9 of 18=2; and, 9+6+2=17. Problem resolved. The deceased uncle’s friend got on his horse and rode back home.


In this scenario, I am the “Uncle’s” friend. My attempt on this website is to give you observations, recommendations, and suggestions (metaphorically speaking my horse) to possibly help you solve some” Estate, Financial, and/or Retirement-income concerns you might be wrestling. Your cost for me to listen, and then share some solutions— CONSIDER IT MY “HORSE” TO YOU.

Let me extend to you my no-obligation “invitation” to get together with me for a thorough estate, financial, and retirement-income “Check-up”—A Second Opinion (Click Here). I offer a “review” of where you are at, and where you are heading with all of your estate/financial/retirement income   planning— in other words a check-up with a lot of horse sense.

I would like to earn the privilege of working with you throughout the years ahead. I hope to hear from you (425) 827-9225 if you would like to arrange an appointment for us to get together.

Capital Enhancement Group, Inc. • 611 4th Ave. Suite A • Kirkland, WA 98033 • (425) 827-9225

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