Nicolas Puech, the estranged heir of the Hermès fashion empire, has announced he intends to award his $11 billion fortune and $5.9 million in properties to his former gardener.
While you’re probably wondering why the 80-year-old’s not leaving it to family, the fact of the matter is he’s not married and doesn’t have any children.
So, he plans to legally adopt his 51-year-old former gardener and handyman, making him a beneficiary of his vast wealth.
It’s an unorthodox move, passing on his immense wealth and real-estate portfolio, and one that’s sparked intense speculation.
Puech is a fifth-generation descendant of Thierry Hermès, who laid the foundation of the luxury fashion house in 1837.
Despite retiring from the board of Hermès in 2014, Puech still holds a siginifcant stake in the company.
The company is valued at $220 billion, ranking Puech among Switzerland’s wealthiest individuals, with an estimated worth of around $11 billion.
Apparently, Puech has already initiated legal proceedings to formalize the gardener’s adoption, which forms a crucial part of his revised estate arrangements.
The gardener, who reportedly comes from a “modest Moroccan family”, is married to a woman from Spain and they have two children of their own.
The man stands to inherit a significant portion of Peuch’s fortune, including acquiring substantial properties in Marrakesh, Morocco and Montreux, Switzerland valued at $5.9 million.
Puech faces formidable challenges, though, with adult adoption an exceedingly rare occurrence in Switzerland.
He will have to navigate complex legal hurdles, with reports suggesting requirements for such adoptions demanding a prior relationship during the adoptee’s minor years.
What’s more, he faces conflicting commitments, too.
Allegedly, Puech had previously committed his fortune to the Isocrates foundation, established by himself to combat misinformation.
If he is to retract this pledge, it might trigger a fierce legal battle.
In a statement shared with Fortune, the foundation said it opposes any unilateral cancellation of the inheritance contract, signaling a potential shutdown.
Reports suggest the adoption maneuver may serve as a legal tactic to preempt any interference from the foundation in Puech’s will.