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As Mr. Smith was on his deathbed, he attempted to formulate a plan that would allow him to take at least some of his considerable wealth with him.
He called for the three men he trusted most in the world - his lawyer, his doctor, and his vicar. He told them, "I'm going to give you each £30,000 in cash before I die. At my funeral, I want you to place the money in my coffin "
All three agreed to do this and were given the money. At the funeral, each approached the coffin in turn and placed an envelope inside.
While travelling together to the cemetery, the vicar said "I have to confess something to you all. Mr Smith was a good member of my congregation all his life, and I know he would have wanted me to do this. The church needed a new roof very badly, and I took £10,000 of the money he gave me and bought £20,000 into the coffin."
The doctor then said, "Well, since we're confiding in one another, I might as well tell you that I didn't put the full £30,000 in the coffin either. Mr Smith had a disease that could have been diagnosed earlier if I had had this very new machine, but the machine costs £20,000 and I couldn't afford it then. I used £20,000 of the money to buy the machine so that I might be able to save another patient. I know that Mr Smith would have wanted me to do that. I only put £10,000 into the coffin." "
The lawyer then said, "I'm ashamed of you both! When I put my envelope into that coffin, it held my personal cheque for the full £30,000.