Hermès Billionaire Is Trying to Adopt His 51-Year-Old Gardener To Be His Only Heir

Nicolas Puech (pictured), heir to the legendary Hermès fashion house, recently stunned the world by announcing his intention to legally adopt his former gardener and leave him his $11 billion fortune. The 81-year-old, who is not married and has no children, ranks among Switzerland’s wealthiest individuals, with a net worth estimated between $10.3 billion and $11.4 billion. Despite a falling out with his famous family following the 2014 takeover of a substantial stake in Hermès by rival luxury conglomerate LVMH, Puech still owns a considerable share in the $220 billion company, and his move to leave it all to his former gardener has sparked controversy. The unnamed gardener, who comes from a “modest Moroccan family,” is reportedly married to a woman from Spain and has two children of his own. Adopting an adult in Switzerland is considerably harder than adopting a minor, but Puech says he’s ready for battle. He previously pledged his fortune to the Isocrates Foundation, an organization established by him to combat misinformation, so any attempt to back out of that contract could trigger legal action from the foundation, which has already issued a statement opposing any cancellation of the deal. If the 51-year-old gardener ends up becoming the sole heir, he stands to inherit at least half of Puech's fortune, which includes 5.7% of Hermès, as well as substantial properties in Marrakesh, Morocco, and Montreux, Switzerland valued at several millions of dollars. He will be able to collect about €40 million ($43 million) a year in dividends alone.