In a tale that echoes the adage that money may indeed grow on trees, Nicolas Puech, the fifth-generation heir to the iconic Hermès fashion house, is capturing headlines for his extraordinary plan to bequeath a significant portion of his staggering $14 billion fortune to his 51-year-old gardener. The twist? Puech is reportedly taking steps to legally adopt the green-thumbed beneficiary.
With an $11 billion fortune tied to his lineage as a descendant of Hermès founder Thierry Hermès, the 80-year-old fashion magnate is set to redefine the parameters of generosity. Reports suggest that Puech, who is unmarried and childless, aims to leave up to half of his wealth to the gardener, whose identity remains confidential but is said to be of Moroccan descent and a family man.
Puech, who owns a substantial five to six percent of Hermès shares, has also earmarked potential inheritance of $5.9 million in property assets for his adopted heir. This includes real estate spanning Switzerland, Morocco, Marrakesh, and Montreux. However, complexities may arise, especially concerning Swiss property laws that scrutinize adult adoption scenarios.
In a strategic move, Puech has purportedly initiated the legal adoption process to secure the gardener’s position as his rightful heir, setting the stage for possible legal disputes over the distribution of the estate.
Notably, the fashion house scion had previously dedicated his fortune to the Isocrates Foundation, which he established to champion media diversity in Switzerland. Despite stepping away from Hermès’ supervisory board in 2014, Puech’s past departure was marred by familial disagreements, particularly regarding LVMH’s discreet acquisition of a 23 percent stake in Hermès between 2001 and 2013.
With the current valuation of Hermès standing at an impressive $220 billion, making it the second most valuable luxury brand globally, Puech’s unique approach to his estate planning adds another layer to the captivating stories of the ultra-wealthy. From fashion designer Alexander McQueen’s canine beneficiaries to the tale of a feline inheriting millions in the late ’80s, Puech’s unconventional decision underscores the diverse ways the affluent navigate their legacies. As the Hermès heir finalizes the beneficiaries of his estate, the world watches with intrigue at this unprecedented act of generosity.