A wealthy lawyer can't decide how to divide his fortune between his five children and decides to send them an announcement of his own death.
Wallace Freemont III was a disappointed man. Yes, he had a brilliant career as a defense attorney and had the money to show for it, but his children... Which was more deserving? Who was he going to leave the lion's share of his money to?
He had four children, five, actually, if he counted Gail. Gail wasn't his blood. She was the daughter of an old friend who'd passed away, and Wallace and his second wife had adopted her when she was just two.
Wallace was a very wealthy lawyer. | Source: Pexels
Wallace was seventy-two, and he was starting to think about death, counting his failures and his regrets. His three wives had given him his four children, but none of them seemed to care for him, only his money.
Wallace had an idea, a brilliant idea! His children would decide who would get the biggest slice of the pie, and who would get the crumbs!
He called in one of his associates, a brilliant lawyer who reminded Wallace of himself when he was a young man. "George," he said. "I have a task for you..."
Greed will always lead to a downfall.
Wallace gave George the contacts of Frank, Jared, Natalie, and Joyce -- and added Gail. "I want you to contact my children, George," he said. "And announce my death."
George's mouth hung open. "Your DEATH?" he gasped. "Sir, you're not thinking of doing...anything foolish?"
"Certainly not!" said Wallace impatiently. "I want to know which of my children love me, and which love the money I keep sending their way!"
Wallace shared four biological children with his three ex-wives. | Source: Unsplash
George picked up the phone and called Wallace's oldest son, Frank. "Mr. Freemont?" he asked. "I'm sorry to have to tell you that your father, Mr. Wallace Freemont III, has passed away.
"According to his wishes, he is lying at home from tonight on, until the funeral on Wednesday. He ordered that no one but his children should be at the vigil until the funeral..."
Wallace saw George nod and press his lips together. "I see..." he said. "The reading of the will? I'm setting it for next Monday. Yes. I'll see you then."
He turned to Wallace. "Your son is 'tied up,'" he said. "He'll be there for the reading of the will." Wallace was hurt, but he'd been expecting something like that.
He sat patiently while George called Jared, Natalie, and Joyce. When George had contacted all his children, he said, "Mr. Freemont, they have all agreed to meet for the reading of the will. They all claim they can't be here for the vigil. I'm so sorry!"
Wallace adopted little Gail after his best friend died. | Source: Pixabay
"That's OK, George," Wallace said sadly. "I guess you'd better call Gail too."
George called Gail and told her basically the same story, but after a few seconds, he hung up. "So?" asked Wallace. "What did she say?"
George shook his head. "She didn't!" he explained. "She hung up on me."
"Well, George," said Wallace bitterly. "That just goes to show how much we are loved!"
Wallace went home that night feeling very lonely and desperately sad. He kept remembering his children growing up. Teaching Frank to swim, cradling Natalie, helping Jared with his homework, Mary crying over a scraped knee...
Where had those adorable children gone? What did they grow into? He didn't even bother to turn on the lights. He walked into the sitting room and sank into his favorite chair.
Wallace asked George to announce his death to all five children. | Source: Pexels
Wallace woke up hours later to the sound of someone opening the front door. Someone walked into the sitting room and turned on the lights. It was Gail!
She stared at him white-faced. Wallace could see that her eyes were swollen and red from crying. "Daddy?" she whispered. "Oh, Daddy! Someone called me...I thought you were dead!"
Gail started sobbing desperately and Wallace put his arms around her. "It's OK, Gail," he said tenderly. "I'm OK!" Only now did Wallace realize that his ploy had been a cruel one.
"How did you get here so quickly, my dear?" he asked once Gail had calmed down.
"I caught a plane straight away, then I drove...I couldn't stand the idea of you being here alone." Gail said. "Are Jared and Natalie, Mary and Frank on their way?"
Wallace smiled grimly. "No, I'm afraid not," he said. "But they will be in on Monday for the reading of the will!"
Only Gail cried over Wallace's supposed death. | Source: Unsplash
Sure enough, on Monday morning, Wallace's four children trooped into George's office looking suitably sorrowful. There they found their adoptive sister, Gail.
"Here already?" asked Natalie. "Can't wait for the money? Don't hold your breath, you're not a REAL Freemont. You won't get a dime!"
"Actually," George interrupted. "I'm afraid you're wrong, Miss Freemont." He asked the four to sit down and started reading out Wallace's will.
"I leave my estate, in its entirety, to my daughter Gail, who has shown me so much love and affection. To my children Frank, Jared, Natalie, and Mary, I leave the sum of $10,000 each."
Jared was on his feet, screaming, "I'm contesting this will!"
"The old man was senile!" cried Natalie. "I always knew it, and I can prove it!"
Wallace's children showed up for the reading of the will. | Source: Unsplash
Frank puffed out his lips. "Ridiculous!" he brayed. "This will not stand!"
"But I loved my daddy!" whined Mary.
"Did you?" asked a familiar voice. The four turned around and found themselves face to face with their supposedly deceased father. "You will not contest my will, any of you.
"You've shown me how much you care for me, and that is what I needed to know. I had George announce my death, and the only one who grieved for me was Gail.
"She deserves the money, and she will get it when I die. As for you four, don't bother knocking on my door for any more handouts. You won't get a cent!"
Wallace's four children were furious and ashamed. They now knew they had failed their father's test. The one who really loved him, who felt gratitude, was the baby he'd adopted, not his biological children.
Wallace's biological children were furious. | Source: Unsplash
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