It may sound obvious that you need to know what you own when you end your marriage, but it's something people often overlook. This is especially true with high-asset divorce cases, where the assets can admittedly be complex and confusing.
Knowing that you have "around a million dollars" in investments just isn't good enough. Knowing that the lakefront vacation home was "expensive" doesn't give you an accurate idea of what it is really worth today. Knowing that there is "plenty of money in the bank" without any real idea of how much should be there just sets you up for failure.
After all, if you had $700,000 in investments and your spouse tried to hide $200,000, wouldn't you want to know? If you look at the account and it has $500,000, you can't just assume it's close enough. You need to know down to the last cent what is yours.
You also want to consider all potential assets, such as:
- Stock options
- Retirement investments
- Deferred compensation
- Life insurance policies
- Executive perks
- Accrued vacation time
- Club memberships
These are just a few examples, but the key is to list out everything. It takes time. It can be difficult. But your list must encompass your entire estate so that you know how to begin dividing up those assets. At the same time, you need to know what debts you may have and how those should get divided.
You have a lot on the line in a high asset divorce. Be sure you understand exactly what legal steps you need to take.