Hermes heir to bequeath half of $13 billion fortune to gardener

Originally published at: Hermes heir to bequeath half of $13 billion fortune to gardener - Boing Boing


Asked why he would chance his fortune on his little-known gardener, Puech simply replied that he’s always been there.


Apparently he’s trying to legally adopt the gardener. I don’t know the details of the contract but it seems kinda weird that the amount going to an offspring would depend on whether or not the child was a son.


“I see you’re fixing the fence, Ted.”
Help me out. Something from Being There?


Puech’s “servant, former gardener and handyman.”



And this is why billionaire founders should set up family foundations to hold and manage assets. Sounds like this guy didn’t have any heirs so his gardener took on that role psychologically and he’s going to be legally adopted. Grand grandpa should have planned for this.

As for the gardener, I wish him success with his new assets. He will soon find that billions of dollars can solve many problems but also create many problems which he’s probably not prepared for.


No, this is why this sort of wealth accumulation and lottery by birth doesn’t make any fucking sense. Grand grandpa shouldn’t have had to worry about controlling wealth from beyond the grave, because those resources should have gone towards benefiting the broader world that he profited from.


Disagree. Billionaires already have far too much power and influence over society while they’re still alive, there’s no reason anyone should let them control what happens to their money long after they’re dead.

If you’re lucky enough to die rich then you should leave your money to the people who you think should have it and then leave the living to do with it as they will.


Maybe someone… erm… knows where the bodies are buried.


… or helped to put them there. :wink:


Thanks. I’m not familiar.
Sort of a running gag, I take it?

“The Fast Show … is a comedy sketch show”
I guess it was all running gags.


In many common law countries (not France, but the US, for example) there is a thing called the Rule Against Perpetuities, which is designed to prevent exactly what you are describing. Why should a dead person be able to dictate the distribution and control of property for generations after their death? I don’t think France has any such rule. There is a way around this rule in the US, though. Charitable trusts. And that’s why you see all these super rich folk like Warren Buffet and Bill Gates “giving” all their wealth to charity. They’re actually doing nothing of the sort. They’re tying their fortunes up in charitable trusts which can be controlled by the trustees (usually descendants) in perpetuity, and it avoids estate taxes.

Anyway, in this case, the “charitable” foundation that is supposed to receive this estate is pissed because whoever runs that foundation is now not going to be able to continue to pay themselves exorbitant amounts of money to run the foundation.


According to the article, Puech already set up a foundation, the equivalent of a U.S. charitable trust. He changed his mind and is now trying to circumvent his contract with it, as is often the case with capricious billionaires.

You might be thinking of a personal (as opposed to charitable) trust managed by a family office, which is something different. They’re usually dissolved when the assets are distributed to the beneficiaries, unless one of them is deemed to be fundamentally incapable of managing their own finances. It’s rare that the deceased is such a control-freak arsehole that he has the trust outlive him past the legal formalities of settling the estate.

Which is where proper inheritance taxes come in. Of course, in the U.S., all those conservative temporarily embarrassed (multi-)millionaires faint at any proposal that would leave heirs of the ultra-wealthy to survive on a capped pittance of $50-million (i.e. $2-million a year for doing nothing while your net worth keeps growing).


I think that you had to watch two or three episodes before it started to make muck sense. It was all running gags and catchphrases; which is nice.


This. Chuck Feeney provided an excellent example for billionaires to follow:

IMO, people should plan to die with just enough to cover the funeral expenses of their choice and administration of whatever small amount is left. There are plenty of charities that could be named as beneficiaries if someone with assets dies at a younger age. Those of us without a lot of money might be better off re-examining advice from anyone who promotes the goal of dying with a lot of money in the bank. Who really benefits from that?


On the far-right, with the horrifying example of the Rockefeller Trust gradually turning to the liberal side, they sometimes have an n-years death-clock self-destruct to prevent that from happening.


They should look at the bright side: more free time!


Certainly no old people need to die with billions of dollars of undistributed assets, but it can be pretty dicey for even the best of planners to pass away with only enough to cover funeral costs. End-of-life care can be very expensive and very unpredictable. If you need in-home care for a chronic condition that goes on for months or years that can deplete most fortunes pretty quickly. I don’t begrudge anyone hanging on to a few hundred thousand dollars in their old age as some insurance that they get to live out their lives on their own terms without burdening anyone.


IIRC didn’t Ted end up owning half the estate, too?

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