A recent ruling in the Court of Appeal in England and Wales highlights that although you can leave your money to whom you like there are some limitations, wherever you live in the UK.
England, Scotland and Wales, like the United States, have a tradition of "testamentary freedom" - the idea being that you can, in theory, leave your wealth to whoever you like.
Countries like France, Spain and the Republic of Ireland, by contrast, have fixed heirship shares.
However in Scotland, children and spouses may have "legal rights" to a portion of the deceased's estate.
A surviving spouse, or civil partner and children are entitled to part of the deceased person's moveable estate. In Scots law, heritable property means land and buildings, while moveable estate includes such things as money, shares, cars, furniture and jewellery.
The surviving spouse or civil partner is entitled to one-third of the deceased's moveable estate if the deceased left children or descendants of children, or to one-half of it if the deceased left no such children or descendants.
In England and Wales the Inheritance Act of 1975 section 2 sets out that close relatives may apply to a court for a variation to a will ‘such as to make reasonable financial provision for the applicant’.
The bar is set high in that an applicant must show real need or that they were led to believe that they were to receive an inheritance and acted on that belief.
One dispute currently going through the High Court involves Clive Shaw, 55, a dairy farmer who reportedly does not like cows, He is making a claim for the family farm after a disagreement with his parents who have written him out of their wills.
It is the latest in a series of similar legal claims made this year. Lucy Habberfield brought a claim in the High Court in January 2018 against her mother. After the death of her father, her mother became the sole owner of the family farm despite repeated promises over the years that Ms Habberfield would inherit. She had devoted much of her life to the farm working long hours for little pay. She was awarded £1.2m to set up her own farm.
A professionally drawn up Will covers all these eventualities and you must show that the needs of your close family were considered fully.
For advice in this matter please get in touch.