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Hidden Assets

February 11th, 2010

Hidden assets are undisclosed financial assets such as stock, bonds, or bank accounts. Hidden assets are used to provide financial security. For example in a divorce hidden assets won’t be taken into account in the splitting of assets.

Finding hidden assets can be hard. Offshore bank accounts are very hard to track down to their owners. Legally a marriage partner has a right to part of the hidden asset but if you can’t find it you can’t get a piece of it.

Looking at an individual’s tax return is the first step in finding hidden assets. If assets are documented in previous returns and then vanish, it’s a good bet that the individual is hiding them somewhere. You can request tax returns from the federal government.

You can then go through a person’s financial records. By looking through savings account statements, credit card statements, and checking account statements you can track down large transfers of money. You might be able to determine if the assets were transferred to a hidden account in this fashion.

Another option is to look at an individual’s ATM statements. A sudden increase in withdrawals can be a sign of a hidden account.

If all other steps have failed you can try looking at a credit report. The existence of an unknown line of credit could indicate a hidden account.

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