• Andrew D. Sternke, JD

Finding Hidden Assets

Hidden Asset Situations

Hidden assets are often an issue in family law and probate matters. For example, in the event of a divorce or separation, a spouse may try to hide assets so that their spouse does not get a fair share of them during the process. Or hide assets before signing a marriage agreement so a new spouse will not know about it and unwittingly sign away a property interest. Hidden assets can also be involved in support matters when a person tries to fail to meet their obligations, e.g., in cases of support for children or spouses or beneficiaries. In other cases, hidden assets can be included in a filing for bankruptcy in an attempt to rescue some assets.

Location of Hidden Assets

Business partners may hide assets, or a person who owes a judgment to another person may hide assets to prevent the assets from being legally tied. In many situations, hiding assets is considered fraud. Some people immobilize holdings in their business or set up hidden companies or LLCs. Other people have bank accounts abroad that they use to channel their wealth or private trusts. Even if more is being paid to creditors, it can be a way to hide assets. In other situations, a person can spend a lot of money to get rid of it and convert it to other property. Examples would be buying expensive houses, vehicles, boats, planes, other recreational vehicles, expensive paintings, collectibles, collections, buildings, jewelry, and other luxury items. When these purchases are made, the owner can convert cash into this expensive asset and then declare its value on legal forms, tax returns, or corporate documents. Some individuals may have assets that are not as noticeable in other situations, such as retirement accounts, stocks, bonds, annuities, life insurances, or safety deposit boxes. Sometimes they are hidden assets in the form of assets that have not yet been received, such as a late bonus or salary increase. A divorced spouse can defer his or her property until the divorce is finalized so that he or she does not have to share it with the other spouse. He or she can delay signing a new business contract for the same purpose. In different situations, people can save the money they make from a business or self-employment and then under-report their income from support obligations or problems with creditors. Assets can knowingly or unknowingly involve third parties. Some people may hide assets on behalf of their children, e.g., opening an escrow account. In other situations, a spouse may claim they owe a false debt to a friend and then repay them to get the money back later. A company can give a fictional person a salary that is later demanded from the spouse or debtor. A person can keep assets in a storage unit, with a friend, or with a family member. By fraud, he or she can buy assets for that person, such as an apartment, designer clothes, jewelry, or direct cash.

How to Locate Hidden Assets

Asset location private investigators such as Juris Disputes & Investigations can conduct a complete and thorough investigation to locate hidden assets. We can also create a report and testify in court about these assets so that the court is aware of suspected misconduct with hidden assets. Our private investigators have access to databases that can be used to keep track of the assets. We can also examine public records of real estate files, company files, tax returns, and related documents. Additionally, our private investigators can monitor a spouse to see if they are in an undeclared location or are in consultation with others to hide assets. Our private investigators can also refer to names, addresses, and other information to identify relationships, patterns, and possible sites that can reveal hidden assets. We can also analyze the target's property and track the person's online movements.

If you need to track down financial assets, give Juris Disputes & Investigations LLC a call for a free consultation as we are experts in finding accounts.

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