Can You Search Another Persons Assets?

Asset searches are essential in various legal matters, such as divorce, probate, litigation, and fraud investigations. These searches involve uncovering concealed assets that may have been hidden from view. While many individuals rely on private investigators to perform asset searches, it’s entirely possible to conduct your own investigation. In this DIY guide, we’ll explore the ins and outs of performing a do-it-yourself (DIY) asset search, enabling you to protect your interests or recover what’s rightfully yours.

Understanding the DIY Asset Search Process:

The DIY asset search process is not rocket science; it’s a matter of investing time and effort. Here’s what you need to know to get started:

  • Asset Classes: Begin by understanding the various asset classes you’ll encounter during an asset search. These may include real estate, vehicles, bank accounts, corporate assets, intellectual properties, and more. You can choose to focus on specific asset classes or opt for a comprehensive search.
  • Record Sources: Each type of asset is stored in different databases or record sources. You’ll need to know where to look for specific asset types. For instance:
    • Real estate records are held by the county recorder’s office.
    • Vehicle records are maintained by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
    • Banking records can be accessed through the ENT (Electronic Network Transfers) system.
  • Cost Considerations: While performing a DIY asset search, you may encounter fees associated with accessing certain documents. For example, county recorder’s offices may charge for copies of real estate records, while the DMV might request a fee for vehicle title information. Be prepared for some nominal expenses associated with these records.

DIY Asset Search vs. Hiring a Private Investigator:

Both DIY asset searches and hiring a private investigator have their pros and cons. Here’s a quick comparison:

  • DIY Asset Search:
    • Pros:
      • Lower cost (minimal hard costs for document copies).
      • Complete control over the search process.
      • Option to focus on specific asset classes.
    • Cons:
      • Time-intensive (12 to 14 hours of labor, on average).
      • Requires patience and meticulous document analysis.
      • Limited expertise in navigating databases or record sources.
  • Hiring a Private Investigator:
    • Pros:
      • Outsourced expertise in conducting asset searches.
      • Saves you time and effort.
      • Comprehensive search across all asset classes.
    • Cons:
      • Higher cost (typically involving both hard costs and investigator fees).

The ability to perform a DIY asset search can be a valuable skill, whether you’re involved in a legal dispute, safeguarding your interests, or seeking to recover concealed assets. While it may be time-consuming and require meticulous research and analysis, a DIY asset search can save you significant costs compared to hiring a private investigator. If you choose to embark on this journey, take the time to understand the record sources for different asset classes and be prepared for nominal expenses when accessing specific documents. Should you decide to seek professional assistance, consulting a licensed investigator is always an option, providing you with the expertise and comprehensive search capabilities required.

For more information on performing your own asset search, including specific tips and resources, visit our website at Active Intel.

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