People have different reasons for wanting to hide assets such as real estate holdings, investments, stocks and bonds, and bank accounts. The most common reason to hide assets is during divorce proceedings. One study suggests that one-in-five divorces involve at least one party attempting to conceal assets. Here are five ways that a Chicago attorney can help you find hidden assets:
1. Tax Records and Bank Records
A Chicago attorney can help you get a hold of tax records and bank records, usually for the previous five years or so. If taxes were filed separately, the process of obtaining such records could be more complicated. This is where the experience of an attorney familiar with such efforts can be a valuable asset to you. An accountant is often brought in to sort through various financial documents such as bank statements, tax returns, and credit card statements to find possible sources of hidden assets.
2. Finding Patterns of Withdrawals and Deposits
Most people tend to be creatures of habit. Fortunately, this comes in handy during the process of finding hidden assets. This typically involves checking ATM habits and checking bank statements for patterns of withdrawal and deposit. Sometimes finding accounts involves a little digging. A Chicago attorney can use legal procedures to gain access to such accounts. This also applies to investment accounts, savings accounts, and foreign holdings.
3. Check Credit Reports
In the case of divorce proceedings, finding hidden assets involves searching for abnormal patterns. Credit reports keep track of all financial activity involving transactions such as deposits, withdrawals, payments, purchases, and accounts. Even if your spouse opens an account in their name, it may show up on your credit report. You want to look for unfamiliar activity or irregular financial activity such as payments to creditors you are not familiar with. A Chicago attorney can help you sort through credit reports to find anomalies.
4. Deferred Salary Payments, Commissions, and Bonuses
This is a creative way of hiding assets, but it’s still worth checking. Sometimes a spouse may defer their salary or make arrangements to have bonuses or commissions withheld until a later date to make it appear that they are receiving a lower salary than they really have. Such records are usually available through human resource departments. Legally, spouses have a right to such information. A Chicago attorney can take care of any legal problems you may encounter though.
5. Other Tricks to Conceal Assets
Some common tricks to conceal assets include creating an account in a child’s name. A less common approach is opening an account under an assumed name. Additional tricks include opening a foreign bank account or making investments in a foreign company. If you suspect that funds may be concealed in such ways, it’s best to hire a Chicago attorney to help you work through the legalities of acquiring the information you need to confirm the existence of such assets.
If you strongly suspect that hidden assets exist, it’s best to hire a qualified Chicago attorney to help you find the evidence you need. This may involve working with a professional financial investigator, an accountant, a matrimonial lawyer, and other experts. A Chicago lawyer familiar with the tricks of finding hidden assets can be a valuable asset to you.