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Unmarried and childless, a Hermès heir wants to bequeath his fortune to his domestic worker

2023-12-01T15:58:15.129Z

Highlights: One of the descendants of the founder of Hermès wants to adopt his domestic worker. Nicolas Puech is the largest individual shareholder of the famous French leather goods house. According to Bilan magazine, his fortune is estimated at 9 to 10 billion Swiss francs (9.4 to 10.4 billion euros) In 2011, he signed an inheritance pact – more binding than a will – in favour of a Geneva-based foundation called Isocrates, which funds projects to combat disinformation.


Over 80 years old, Nicolas Puech is the largest individual shareholder of the famous French leather goods house.


One of the descendants of the founder of Hermès, the famous French leather goods house, wants to adopt his domestic worker in order to bequeath him part of his fortune of several billion Swiss francs, the Tribune de Genève said on Friday. Based in Switzerland's canton of Valais, in the south of the country, Nicolas Puech is "the largest individual shareholder of Hermès" with a stake of around 5%, explains the Swiss daily.

Single and childless, this octogenarian has decided to "turn his estate upside down" to pass on part of his fortune to a "former gardener and handyman", "aged 51" and "from a modest Moroccan family", according to the Tribune de Genève. According to Bilan magazine, which compiles an annual ranking of the 300 richest people in Switzerland, his fortune is estimated at 9 to 10 billion Swiss francs (9.4 to 10.4 billion euros) thanks to his shares in the leather goods house known for its silk handbags and scarves.

In a letter dated "October 2022", this descendant of the founder of Hermès instructed a lawyer to "put his inheritance situation in order", explains the daily, which specifies that this lawyer would also have been mandated to conduct an adoption procedure, "still ongoing", according to its information. "In Switzerland, adopting an adult is not impossible, but unusual," the newspaper said, explaining that if the procedure is successful, he could inherit "at least half" of his wealth.

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Objections to be taken into account

When contacted, the Valais administration did not immediately provide an answer to confirm or not this procedure. However, the project is facing opposition, the Swiss daily continues. In 2011, Nicolas Puech signed an inheritance pact – more binding than a will – in favour of a Geneva-based foundation called Isocrates, which funds projects to combat disinformation through NGOs supporting journalism.

But in "a handwritten note" from "February 2023", seen by the daily, the billionaire made an "about-face", explaining that he "intends to make further testamentary arrangements". When contacted, the foundation said it had "recently learned of its founder's desire to cancel the inheritance contract" but was "not aware of any other provisions".

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This desire to unilaterally annul the inheritance contract seems unfounded," says the foundation, which "opposed it while leaving the door open to discussion." The foundation says it regrets that "its activities of public utility" are "threatened in their sustainability" by circumstances "that are totally beyond its control", against a background of "interpersonal conflict and greed of all kinds".

Source: lefigaro

All business articles on 2023-12-01

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