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A Private Investigator’s Guide to Asset Searches

A Private Investigator’s Guide to Asset Searches

Asset searches are investigations that private investigators conduct to reveal any hidden wealth or financial holdings that someone may be hiding. These searches are especially useful in debt collection or complex court cases such as divorces or civil litigations. Individuals and law firms hire an experienced private investigator because they will look for many different things like company shares, trust funds, income sources, real estate, etc. 

Why Is an Asset Search Done?

There are many reasons why a PI may be asked to uncover hidden wealth, but the common issues revolve around divorce proceedings, child support, and debt collection. Here are more details about each scenario. 

  • Divorce

During divorce cases, a law firm can hire a PI to conduct an asset search to determine whether the former partner has hidden property, finances, or jewelry. It’s important to note that in North America, concealing marital wealth is illegal and can have legal consequences. 

  • Child Support

In child support cases, parents often underreport their income or hide assets to reduce their child support obligations. An asset search can ensure that each parent gives an accurate account of their financial situation and provides their fair share of support to the kid. 

  • Debt Collection

When a creditor faces difficulties with a non-paying debtor, they can employ a private investigator to uncover any hidden or undisclosed assets that might be used to settle the debt.

Asset Searches

Methods of Conducting an Asset Search

Here are some of the steps a private investigator can follow during the process:

Step 1: Gather information about the subject, such as their name, date of birth, address, and social security number. 

Step 2: Next, the investigator searches public records databases to uncover vehicles, real estate, and business ownership. 

Step 3: From there, they may conduct internet research through search engines and social media to learn more about their lifestyle and financial outlook.

Step 4: The PI may then request legal access to examine their bank statements, loan applications, and investment portfolios. 

Step 5: Lastly, they may conduct surveillance and physically observe assets such as vehicles and properties or interview individuals who may know the subject’s assets.


The results of an asset search are usually compiled into a detailed report, which includes:

  • A list of identified assets.
  • Documentation supporting the findings.
  • Lastly, an analysis and recommendations based on the results.

Legal and Ethical Aspects

Asset searches must comply with all applicable privacy laws and data protection standards. This means that investigators must ensure they have the proper authorization to access certain types of financial information and maintain the confidentiality of the information they gather.

Wrapping Up

Asset searches conducted by private investigators are crucial in various legal and financial scenarios, including divorce proceedings, child support cases, and debt collection efforts. They can uncover hidden assets such as company shares, trust funds, income sources, and real estate, ensuring transparency and fairness in financial disclosures. Lastly, remember that all these investigations should be done within the requirements of the law. 

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