Hidden Assets in Offshore Accounts — The Panama Papers

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalism, or ICIJ, recently undertook the enormous task of reviewing the 11.5 million leaked documents now famously known as, The Panama Papers.  Following their review, the ICIJ ran an article discussing the role offshore accounts play during the divorces process of the top one percent.  Feel free to check out the article here: How the One Percenters Divorce: Offshore Intrigue Plays Hide and Seek with Millions.

While the article itself mostly discusses the high net-worth clients that would be enticed to use an offshore account, it brought up a few good points that got us thinking about some things that all individuals going through divorce should keep in mind if they are concerned that their divorcing spouse may be playing this hide and seek game.

  1. Always keep in mind, while gathering data and compiling a complete picture of your family’s finances may be difficult, it is not impossible.
  1. With the advent of electronic discovery, combined with the skills of a forensic expert, the trouble with tracing electronic data has been significantly reduced. Thus, making it more possible to catch a cheating spouse who may have opened a separate bank account to pay for their new girlfriend/boyfriend’s apartment, car, or other gifts.
  1. Take advantage of social media and the booming smart phone industry.
  1. 81% of American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers surveyed said they have seen an increase in the use of evidence from social networking sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook
  2. 92% saw an increase in evidence from smart phones
  1. However, be warned, accessing your significant others password-protected accounts may be against the law. So be sure to seek advice from an attorney before proceeding.

Issues such as these could play a significant role in your post-divorce future. Hiring an experienced CDFA will ensure a more secure, comfortable future for YOU.  Make sure you sit down with us at PDM before finalizing your settlement agreement.