Asset search services are used by debt collectors, attorneys, individuals and businesses looking for hidden assets for a court case and collection agencies. The common theme is a need to find information tied to a financial judgment. The process can be fairly easy if you know what to look for. In some cases it may be more efficient to hire a private detective. This article will help you to discover the best course of action.
How to Do an Asset Search
Look up your state's enforcement process "post-judgment." Some states have services that are available to you free of charge. If you are not searching for the purpose of a judgment, this will provide you with the laws surrounding asset searches in your local jurisdiction.
Determine the owner of the asset. It is more difficult to conduct a search in public records or with a private detective if your asset is owned by several people or one person with several names. Knowing the name reduces error, and saves money and time by focusing your search.
Determine if the search is connected to child support enforcement. The Gramm, Leach, Bailey Act made it illegal to obtain information about a someone's financial information or accounts. This is enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The only exemption is if the asset search is for the purposes of child support.
Research public record search sites. There are many of these sites on the Internet. However, they do not all offer the same services, so you need to do some due diligence. Most sites charge a small fee per search or for 1-year access. Civil Records and Intelius are two of the better sites. See Resources for links.
Solicit the help of a private detective in the state in which you are looking for assets. This may seem extreme, but private detectives are licensed and trained to protect your identity while conducting a thorough search. They will take a deeper dive than most asset search sites. See Resources for a link to find detectives who specialize in asset recovery around the world.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy might cut off your rights to an asset unless the judgment was a result of "malicious behavior." Research the owner of the asset before conducting the search.
This is not to be construed as legal advice.