I have been called on to prepare separate property claims in or moving through brokerage and bank accounts for over 25 years. There is perhaps one universal truth. Every client is unprepared for how expensive it is to gather and present the necessary evidence. However, there are steps a client can take to manage and hold down these costs. Here are some.
- Obtain a good understanding of the Texas Community and Separate Property laws. The best source for this your attorney.
- Determine if your expert offers a lower billing rate for data input/model construction.
- Gather statements detailing all individual transactions before allowing your expert to commence work. There is no reason to begin if the information is not available.
- Make inquires to band and brokerage institutions to see if account transactions can possibly be exported a spreadsheet format. If so, this can save many hours of laborious data transaction input.
- Gather supporting documents for deposits made during the tracing period.
- Investigate transfers to and from accounts to be traced to identify other accounts that may be drawn into the tracing.
- Investigate larger withdrawals and disbursements to identify other accounts that may be drawn into the tracing or potential reimbursement claims.
If these steps are followed, the work will be done more efficiently than otherwise. Clients will have a better understanding of the work done. And finally, the tracing costs will be lower although this will likely go unperceived by the client.