Divorce and bankruptcy are two examples of legal processes that may require finding hidden assets. Finding hidden assets in divorce requires tenacity, but at some point, the spouse hiding property and bank accounts in San Francisco, CA makes a mistake that makes discovery easier. If you believe you fell victim to these schemes, here are six tips on finding hidden assets:
- Avoid online search tools: You likely see them appear on Google ads—those online tools claiming to be able to find hidden assets and bank accounts, and all you need to do is pay $49.99 and register. Unfortunately, these tools do not reveal under-the-table jobs, bank accounts or any other assets. These search tools are extremely limited and never reach nationwide. However, you will give a semi-reputable company all your personal information and face hacker attempts and spam email for years. Signing up for these “easy” services is never worth the risk.
- Pay attention to bank statements: Watch joint banking account statements closely. Many people do not think to try hiding transfers to other accounts because they believe their spouse will never notice. If you see mysterious transfers or large withdrawals, chances are, they are going toward a hidden asset in San Francisco, CA. While you may not know where these transfers go right away, they raise enough of a suspicion that you can bring the matter up in your divorce proceedings and force further investigation.
- Check documents: Even in this paperless society, people still keep paper records. Search filing cabinets and desk drawers for account opening agreements and other papers that suggest hidden assets. Remove drawers and check under them for hidden file folders. While these scenarios sound like they are straight out of a movie, many divorce attorneys and forensic accountants encounter these instances. However, avoid hacking into email accounts and online platforms—those actions can lead to criminal charges, and are not worth the risk.
- Stay on top of your credit report: Sometimes, even if one spouse takes out a credit card, it still ends up on the other spouse’s credit report. Observe it with an app like Credit Karma to see if anything new pops up. Besides new accounts, also check credit inquiries. They can lead you towards hidden assets.
- Look out for payments to other people: Another standard method of hiding assets is to transfer them to a child or family member. Your spouse may do this by opening a savings account for your child and transferring money from your joint account into it. Or, they may withdraw a wad of cash and give it to a sibling, parent or other relative. Many times, these “gifts” are about keeping assets away from you. When you see the transfers, call them out and tell your divorce attorney.
- Hire a forensic accountant: If you are dealing with a genuinely devious person, it may be time to bring in the professionals. Forensic accountants offer expertise in finding hidden assets and have access to resources that are not available to the general public.
The litigation support experts at Medina & Company Consulting, Inc. offer experience finding hidden assets in divorce. If you or your client requires this assistance in San Francisco, CA, call us today to schedule a consultation.