An Hermès heir says he will leave half his $12B fortune to his former gardener and handyman

December 18, 2023

Ones of the heirs to Hermès could leave half his fortune to his former gardener, the Tribune de Genève has reported, according to Business Insider.

Nicolas Puech, 80, a descendant of Hermès founder Thierry Hermes, owns $11.7 billion worth of Hermès shares and is considered one of the richest Swiss citizens. But there is a problem. The elderly billionaire has no children. And there is no wife and apparently are no relatives either.

Therefore, Puech has taken an unconventional move—trying to adopt his 51-year-old gardener, handyman, and residence manager in order to transfer his fortune to him as an inheritance.

 According to the Tribune, Puech owns 5.7% of Hermès’ capital. Although that only represents a small portion of the company’s wealth, it makes Puech its largest individual shareholder.

The domestic helper has worked for Puech for decades. The Tribune did not name the man, who is originally from Morocco.

After the man got married and had two children, the couple essentially became Puech’s only family, and he referred to them as his “children” and “adopted son,” the Tribune reported.

Puech gave the couple more than €1.5 million (US$1.6 million) in 2015 to buy a villa in Marrakech, Morocco. The couple also have amassed various estates and around 50 pieces of agricultural land in Spain and Portugal; as well as a villa in Montreux, Switzerland that’s worth more than $4.5 million, the report says.

Puech has told a lawyer to start adoption proceedings and is waiting for authorities to make a decision, per the report. The Tribune has reported that if this is successful, the man could inherit at least half of Puech’s fortune.

Puech had previously agreed to pass on his money to the foundation he set up in 2011 upon his death, the publication reported. The Isocrates Foundation funds investigative public-interest journalism and Puech serves as its president.

Research contact: @BusinessInsider