Have you ever heard the nursery rhyme about the little girl with the curl in the middle of her forehead? There’s a line that says:
When she was good, she was very, very good, when she was bad, she was awful!
Aren’t most things like that? People are happy and excited and get married, or go into business together and everything is roses, giggles and rainbows.
Then, when things get tough, it gets, well, awful. And much of the “awful” stems from one side of the differences being more aware or in control than the other. Let me explain.
Take a divorce situation first. For some spouses, it doesn’t matter what is in the bank account or what assets are where or whether there is retirement, life insurance, stocks or bonds when the vows are spoken. And they continue on through the life of the marriage in blissful ignorance as long as their needs are met. If that changes, then all of a sudden, not knowing what assets there are and where those assets are becomes a matter of financial survival.
When those questions arise, gets a call from an individual or an attorney asking for a financial investigation or an asset investigation because they suspect that hidden assets are not listed on divorce assets documentation. The search for assets can begin with a personal asset search and easily extend into a business asset search, especially for those whose (soon-to-be) ex-spouses are business owners. Finding hidden assets is a specialty at because we get lots of experience with it. It is not unusual for assets in divorce to find their way into hidden bank accounts and off shore accounts or for missing assets to transform into property or expensive possessions sold to friends or relatives – most often at a highly discounted price.
In the situation of a professional or business partnership, the issue of theft and embezzlement rears its ugly head. In this situation, missing assets are most commonly defined as missing money and books that don’t make sense. Financial forensic experts are called in to assist the business asset search investigator and, often times, a personal asset search investigator as well. Too often, sadly, the search for assets correlates right along with the money trail.
Going into any relationship with eyes wide open and transparency is smart. There may still be a situation in the future that requires an asset investigation, but when a fair settlement is at stake, it is better to say, “I know there are assets missing,” rather than, “I kind of think something isn’t right.”
-Brenda McGinley, CEO, All in Investigations, All in Investigations