The more wealth an individual or couple have accumulated over the years the more diversified and “protected” these assets often are. This may include assets being hidden before or during a divorce. The more knowledge you have about where the wealthy hide their wealth, the better your chances are of discovering hidden assets.

To help avoid an expensive asset not being included in a divorce settlement it may be advisable to hire a specialist.

We has compiled a rather extensive list of 36 places the wealthy could hide valuable assets.


Baseball cards

Some people may not think that a baseball card is valuable as they were given away free in the 1900s with a packet of cigarettes. Fast forward to today and you can happily pay thousands of dollars for a baseball card. A Honus Wagner, 1909-1911 card sold for $3.12 million.


Antiques, Statues, Guns and Art

Antiques come in all shapes and sizes. Antiques can be notoriously difficult to value. Estimates are often incorrect and items can sell far below or above their predicted price. Trends change and with them so does the demand and hence their value.

A Persian Rug that sold at Sotherby’s for $33.76 million was originally estimated at between $5 and $7 million.

Paintings can fetch many hundreds of thousands of dollars and masterpieces often sell for millions of dollars.

A pair of Purdey shotguns can fetch £200,000 and rarer pistols and guns can fetch into the millions.

Thankfully art and antiques are often insured under your house insurance policy and so a phone call to your insurance broker should give you a basic idea of the value of the contents of your house.


Silver, Gold and Gems

Anyone who has watched a James Bond movie or a heist film will know that one of the most popular methods to hide and transport wealth is in gold coins, bars, diamonds and precious gems. A small hidden safe can hold millions of dollars of assets.


Stocks and Bonds

Stocks and bonds often make up a large portion of an investors portfolio and pension. Dividend stocks give a monthly income that can be paid out into cash or be automatically reinvested into new shares.


Cash

If a spouse regularly handles large sums of cash in their job or business, then there is a higher chance of cash being stored in a safe somewhere. It also makes it far easier to quietly swap cash for a new asset like gold coins, cars, jewellery etc.


Cashier’s check

A cashier’s check or cheque is as good as cash. They are guaranteed by the bank that issued them and can be made out into anyones name.


Jewellery

Probably one of the most popular items that couples like to spend money on. His and her Rolex’s, diamond earrings, necklaces, engagement rings etc. Watches, wedding rings alone can fetch tens of thousands of dollars.


Pedigree pets and animals.

Some breeds of pets can be worth a princely sum and even more if you own dressage or race horses for example.


Cars, boats, planes and vehicles

All of these assets can be worth a pretty penny and need to be insured which makes them easier to trace unless they have been transferred into a different name.


Passive and secondary income

Passive income comes from an asset that needs little or no day to day involvement, yet plays out a regular income. It can also be a source of revenue that continues even after the work is complete, for example royalties from a song, book, patent etc.

Examples of passive income:

  • Rental income
  • Affiliate websites
  • Lending income (loans)
  • Dividend stocks
  • Cryptocurrency node and staking income
  • Savings account interest
  • Reits
  • Royalties
  • Patents
  • Business interests

A secondary income is usually when someone has a second job, or a side business to their day job.


Online Business

More and more couples are starting small blogs or online businesses to create a pension and secondary income. Affiliate drop shipping or selling products online. An eBay or amazon business. The income generated from these types of business can grow to be quite substantial.


Pensions

It is possible to have both private and company or government pensions. A possible second unknown pension.


Prepaid debit and credit cards

It is possible to buy prepaid cards that allow owners to load up thousands of dollars onto them and then spend them at shops, online and at cash point machines.


Bank and Savings account

Most families have multiple bank accounts and savings accounts. It is very easy to set up a new account including under someone else’s name as a beneficiary.


Casino chips and accounts

Las Vegas casinos for example exchange chips for dollars. Gamblers can also open up accounts and a line of credit to gamble at their establishments.


I.O.U’s

These are a signed document acknowledging a debt.


High end fashion

This usually includes a collectors item. This could be shoes, dresses and handbags for example. Just because some fashion item is second hand does non mean it is not worth a significant amount of money.

Here are a few examples:

Shoes:

Nike air mag back to the future 2016 editions can fetch $26,000.

Testoni mens shoes can cost $35,000 or more.

A pair of Air Jordan silver shoes sold for $60,000.

A pair of Stuart Weitzman shoes can fetch over $1 million.


Handbags:

A hermes bag sold for $2 million.

A Chanel bag can cost upwards of $2000.


Trustfund or Charity

A trust fund is a legal entity that holds assets or property on behalf of another person, group or organisation. A trust fund can include money, property, stock, a business or a combination of these. A charity if set up correctly can work in the similar manner as a trust.


Family and Friends

Assets and cash can be lent or gifted to friends. Friends and family can become trusties or directors of a charity, company or business for example.


An Angel Investor

An angel investor (sometimes also known as a private or seed investor) is a high net worth individual who provides financial backing for startups or entrepreneurs, usually in exchange for equity in a business.


Safe deposit box

This is a deposit box that usually resides in banks, post offices or institutions such as a safe deposit vault company.


Hidden safe

Safes can be disguised as other objects in a home or office.


Collectables

A collectible is an item that is worth far more than it originally sold for due to its rarity and/ or popularity. This can include memorabilia, coins, stamps, toys, comic books, signed sports items etc.


Commercial and residential property

Second homes, small office units, hunting lodge, inherited real estate and property etc.


Storage unit

A storage unit or self storage unit is rented to tenants, usually on a short-term basis. Individuals and businesses often use these units to store surplus supplies, products or items such as furniture and clothes which can’t fit into their apartment or are not needed at that time. This of the tv show storage wars.


Deferred inheritance and/or lottery win

It is more common than people realise that a spouse decides to divorce when they suddenly win the lottery or a large inheritance and keep this information from their partner.


Debt to a friend, family member or colleague

Loaning large sums to a friend, family member or work/business colleague who at a later date returns said funds.


Gaming and Betting platforms

These platforms allow you to load fiat currency onto them and also keep your winnings in your platform account.


Pawn Brokers

A spouse could go to an upmarket pawn brokers and pawn an expensive item and then collect it after the divorce is finalised.


Collectable Wine and Whisky

A 1926 bottle of Macallan whisky sold at Sotherby’s for £1.45 million.

A 1945 bottle of Domaine de la Romanee-Conti sold at Sotherby’s for $558,000.


Offshore companies

Any high net worth family will have an offshore corporation and/or holding company.

An offshore company is a company that is set up in a different country to the country of the residence owners. These companies are often formed in a very favourable tax jurisdiction.


Fabricated debt

During a divorce it has been known for a sudden large debt to appear to be owed to a friend, family member or business partner/colleague.


Business partner company percentage increase

Suddenly a business partners percentage in the business increases and your spouses percentage decreases.


Commissions, gifts and bonus deferments

Commissions, business gifts and bonuses can add up to a significant amount of money. During a divorce it is very tempting for one party to defer a large commission or accepting an expensive gift or bonus.


Increased alimony payments

Later after the divorce these payments could be refunded.


Delayed signing of a business contract

A sudden unexpected delay of a lucrative business deal.


Cryptocurrency

Bitcoin and alt coins are becoming a popular method os moving large amounts of assets into digital currency and then hidden. Later on the cryptocurrency can reappear in offshore accounts or swapped for other assets like property or gold etc.

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