Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Brothers Split $3 Billion Partnership By Drawing Straws and Tossing Coins

Elghanayan The Elghanayan brothers, New York real estate investment partners, recently dissolved their successful partnership.  Dividing partnership assets, worth $3 billion, came down to drawing straws and a coin toss.  

The brother's met and drew straws to start an auction.  The winner of the auction was responsible for dividing the partnership assets into three piles.  According to Charles V. Bagli, Flipping a Coin, Dividing an Empire, NY Times, Oct. 31, 2009, the brothers then met to pick from the three piles of assets:

On a table in the conference room . . . [were] two opaque envelopes. Whoever picked the envelope containing a plastic coffee stirrer would be the one to call heads or tails. If he called the toss correctly, he would get first pick of three groups of assets..

The brothers provide an example of how to divide property without costly disputes, something of possible use in the estate planning realm.

Special thanks to Joel Dobris (Professor of Law, UC Davis School of Law) for bringing this article to my attention.


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