French billionaire, who is an heir to the Hermès fortune, wants to adopt his 51-year-old former gardener as his son and leave him half of his $12 billion fortune

Hermes’ flagship store in Hong Kong

All of a sudden, many wanted to be a handyman to the heir of Hermes. The reason being that Nicolas Puech, an 80-year-old Frenchman, and Hermes heir, wants to bequeath his fortune to his domestic employee. The largest individual shareholder of the renowned French leather goods house, valued at $11.2 billion, is without a spouse and children, and his Moroccan handyman is his closest personal relation. Puech, the fifth-generation descendant of Thierry Hermès, who founded the luxury fashion brand, considers his caregiving helper as his child and wishes to adopt the adult.

More than 50% shares of Hermes are owned by the Dumas family.

“Adopting an adult child is not easy, but it is possible,” explained Philippe Kennel, a tax lawyer in Lausanne, per Lemantin. “According to the inheritance pact, the adopted child should receive 50% of the estate, while the other 50% would go to the foundation. The inheritance pact in Switzerland is a way to settle your inheritance, not a will, but a contract you sign with other heirs.”

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Nicolas Puech in a photo from 2011. Source – Facebook

The handyman, a 51-year-old Moroccan who initially worked as a gardener for the French billionaire, later became his handyman and eventually the manager of his residences. Unlike his employer, the handyman has a Spanish housekeeper wife and two children, who are like family to the octogenarian. Despite having no blood relations with the family of four, Puech considers them his brood and has decided to initiate an adoption procedure in Valais, according to the Geneva Daily.

The Isocrates foundation

The procedure is underway, and once the legalities are completed, the Moroccan man will become his legitimate son and heir, with access to at least half of Nicolas Puech’s massive fortune. This sounds generous, but it conflicts with Puech’s previous promise to donate his money to the public interest foundation based in Geneva, which he had created. Instead of the vast fortune promised, the Isocrates foundation received only a ‘handwritten note’ expressing his new succession wishes. “Based on the foundation’s information, this abrupt and unilateral cancellation of the inheritance pact seems void and unfounded,” stated Nicolas Borsinger, its secretary-general, in the Tribune de Genève.

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The scenic La Fouly. Source – My Switzerland

Puech, one of the richest men in Switzerland, resides in a luxurious mansion in La Fouly, a municipality with 66 inhabitants. Meanwhile, as legal proceedings continue, the domestic employee has already become richer by two villas, one on the shores of Lake Geneva and the other in Marrakech, worth at least $5 million. Regarding the billions, the billionaire faces several obstacles: first, the adult adoption, and then a long legal battle with the foundation. Puech retired from the Hermes board of directors in 2014 but still holds a 5.7% stake in the company.

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With over 15 years of experience in luxury journalism, Neha Tandon Sharma is a notable senior writer at Luxurylaunches. Her expertise spans luxury yachts, high-end fashion, and celebrity culture. Beyond writing, her passion for fantasy series is evident. Beginning with articles on women-centric gadgets, she's now a leading voice in luxury, with a fondness for opulent superyachts. To date, her portfolio boasts more than 2 million words, often penned alongside a cappuccino.