Given the high incomes in New York, some of the marital estates at issue in a divorce can be rather large. Even though there are consequences for it if it is discovered, many spouses attempt to go to lengths to hide assets in their case. This would keep them away from the marital estate that is subject to division.
Recently, many spouses have tried to turn to South Dakota in an attempt to shield their assets. The state has become a haven for those looking to keep their property from being discovered. South Dakota has protective trust laws that are fast making it a home for assets, similar to Switzerland and the Cook Islands. Even billionaires from overseas are stashing their money in South Dakota. There are estimates that close to $1 trillion in assets could be in these trusts.
Recently, a billionaire divorce has focused attention on South Dakota trusts. Ed Bosarge set up numerous trusts in Bermuda and South Dakota. At first, his wife was the beneficiary of the trust. However, he changed the beneficiary at some point. South Dakota law does not mandate informing the beneficiary that the trust was changed. The state’s laws are so protective of these trusts that it is virtually impossible to get any information. Borsage’s wife is finding it extremely difficult to learn about these funds.
Spouses caught in the middle of a high asset divorce routinely find that the other spouse has engaged in numerous tricks to hide their assets. They are virtually impossible to discover and reach without the help of an attorney. Given the laws of the jurisdictions in which these assets are housed, it may require an intense legal battle to even learn about these assets let alone reach them in a divorce settlement. Thus, legal help may be essential.