Many times, we are hired by a client to get an idea of the net worth or assets of an individual or entity. Why would we do that? Sometimes it’s prejudgment, meaning that you have yet to determine whether to sue because you’d like to know if that individual or entity is even worth engaging in litigation. Beyond that, sometimes you get a judgement, and from there…although the court is great about getting you a piece of paper that says one party owes you a lot of money… collecting on that could be challenging. We are often asked to find hidden assets of an individual or company, which our clients can then collect on. Laws differ state to state and protections for individual verses companies may apply in certain situations which is why it’s best to ensure you hire a private investigative agency that is attorney-led.
Locating Hidden Assets
Locating hidden assets is not particularly easy. The complexities of these searches are on a spectrum. On the left are the hard assets: boats, planes, property, cars. These assets carry a title. Hard assets take a lot of work to find, but they can be found. That’s because there’s typically a title and some public record trail that exists. On the far right are assets that get quite a bit more complicated to locate: brokerage accounts, money in bank, cash under the mattress. Those can be difficult to find.
There aren’t clear databases that you can put somebody’s name in to run and find all the accounts listed to an individual, so we have to get creative. Sometimes this involves the use of surveillance, sometimes it involves doing some deep asset searches, or it may involve getting out and interviewing people that they have financial relationships with. The combination of many investigative techniques helps us paint an accurate picture of what assets an individual or an entity might have that would be collectable.