The law int 1800s England was that the firstborn son or eldest male relative would be heir to the wealth of a deceased individual. This was also the standard customs of the time among everyone except for extraneous circumstances. Why, then, was William Elliot worried that he was going to lose his entrusted fortune?
In reality, this was one such situation that might warrant an amendment to Sir Walter Elliot’s will. The two men had been out of contact for some time, so Sir Walter may have been considering cutting William out already. It would be taboo to cut out a family member, but likely accepted to assign property to another heir if the directed heir was absent from the Elliots’ life.