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The Best Times During Litigation to Conduct an Asset Search

asset search

An asset search gives you invaluable information regarding the financial profile of a party. Before and during litigation, data gathered from a comprehensive asset search allows you to provide your client with the most well-informed advice, direction, and representation. Read on for a discussion of key points in litigation when an asset search conducted by the professional investigative team at Millennium Intelligence Agency (MIA) will come in especially handy.

Evaluating a New Client

When evaluating a prospective client’s proposed claims, it’s important to gather as much intel as you can as quickly as you can. A small investment in an asset search allows you to gather vital information about the other party. You’ll learn about the other side’s financial situation, assets, applicable insurance policies, outstanding debts, bankruptcies, and other elements necessary to put together a full financial profile.

Armed with the relevant data, you can make an informed decision about whether to offer representation to a new client or not. You can give an accurate picture of the claim’s true value to your client, guiding their decisions and yours. You’ll know whether their proposed claim can even be satisfied by the defendant, given their financial situation, and thus whether it’s worth your time and effort–as well as your client’s time and money–to pursue the case.

Preparing for a Deposition

When you are preparing to depose the defendant, the more information you have, the better. The asset search gives you a jumping-off point for questions to pose, targeting the defendant or debtor’s financial profile and ability to satisfy a large judgment or other debt. A deposition is always more successful when you know the answers ahead of time; you can get the information you want on the record, ensuring that the defendant debtor will not be able to get around paying a judgment in the future.

Before and During Settlement Negotiations

Once the defendant has learned the strength of your case, you’ll enter settlement negotiations. Settlement offers are generated based on several factors, well beyond simply the technical value of a claim. Settlements are based on risk adversity, the strength of a case, the strength of the evidence, the jurisdiction, and the defendant’s ability to pay. For the latter point, at least, an asset search is invaluable.

Before you enter into settlement negotiations, and certainly before you accept a settlement offer, you need to know precisely how much the defendant could afford to pay. Due diligence is paramount. You do not want to accept an offer well below the limits of an insurance policy, for example, based on your lack of information or misinformation. Doing so not only devalues the results for your client and yourself–it could also open your firm up to malpractice liability. Entering settlement negotiations with full knowledge of their financial profile, as well as any applicable insurance coverage, gives you extra leverage when negotiating as well as security and peace of mind when ultimately accepting an offer.

Enforcing a Judgment

Once you’ve obtained a judgment, your job as an attorney is not quite finished. It’s still incumbent upon you to ensure that your client (and you) get paid. Many debtors try to get out of paying a judgment, claiming limited assets or attempting to file for bankruptcy. With an asset search, you can learn the truth of the matter.

An asset search will uncover any hidden properties, accounts, or insurance policies you may be able to attach or claim against. You may be able to put a judgment lien against a property or garnish a source of income. With the results of a comprehensive asset search to work from, you’ll know precisely what the judgment debtor is actually able to pay. If they still try to avoid payment, you can seek additional enforcement from the court.

If you are performing due diligence in advance of a settlement, gathering evidence for pending litigation, working to establish a financial profile, or trying to locate a missing party, Millennium Intelligence Agency is ready to offer you thorough support. Call our professional, experienced legal investigative team today at 213-986-9888 for considered and diligent intelligence-gathering services.

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