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Hermès heir wants to adopt house servant to leave behind a fortune

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A descendant of the founder of Hermès, the French luxury leather goods brand, wants to adopt his house servant to leave behind part of his fortune. The Swiss newspaper Tribune de Genève reported this on Friday.

Source: BELGA

Yesterday at 5:37 PM

Nicolas Puech, who lives in southern Switzerland, is “one of the largest individual shareholders of Hermès,” with about 5 percent of the shares, the newspaper writes. But Puech is single and has no children. The eighty-year-old decided to “turn his succession upside down”, to leave part of his fortune to a “former gardener and handyman of 51 years old, from a simple Moroccan family”. The magazine Bilan, which annually ranks the three hundred richest people in Switzerland, estimates Puech’s fortune at 9 to 10 billion Swiss francs (9.4 to 10.4 billion euros).

In a letter from October 2022, the descendant of the Hermès founder instructed a lawyer to put his “inheritance law situation in order”, the newspaper writes. The lawyer would also have been instructed to start adoption proceedings.

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“In Switzerland it is not impossible to adopt an adult, but it is unusual,” the newspaper writes. The house servant would thus become the heir to “at least half” of the fortune.

The Tribune de Genève writes that there is misunderstanding about the plans. For example, in 2011 Puech is said to have signed an inheritance agreement, a document more binding than a will, in favor of a foundation in Geneva, Isocrate, which finances projects in the fight against disinformation. But in a February 2023 document, Puech reversed this.

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Isocrate told the French news agency AFP that it regrets that “the continued existence of its public interest activities has been threatened by matters over which it has no control.” The foundation also talks about “interhuman conflict and greed”.

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