Your net worth statement (also called an inventory) will include cash balances. These are checking accounts, savings accounts, travelers cheques and money market accounts. Gather up all the statements – either paper or online. Try to get all the statements as of the same date. But, a few days different one way or the other will be okay.
On your net worth statement, be sure to note the description of the account. For example, “Chase Checking 2345 Mary” would describe Mary’s Chase Bank checking account with an account number ending in 2345. Note the date of the statement. For example: “Balance as of January 14, 2009″.
You are going to want to periodically update these balances throughout your divorce process. However, don’t feel that you need to constantly update them. In a collaborative case, I will usually update the account balances prior to every or every other collaborative team meeting and whenever there has been a material deposit or payment, such as a deposited annual bonus or the payment of income tax.
Now that I have talked about creating your net worth statement, I am going to do a series of explanations and discussions on the detailed items in a net worth statement. By the way, in a divorce, the net worth statement is known as an inventory.
Some items will take more than one blog entry and others will be quite short.
Generally, every item on your net worth statement should have a corresponding statement that has the name of the account holder, the name of the institution, the account number, the type of account, the date of the statement, and the dollar amount. For example with a bank account:
1. John Doe
2. First National Bank of Your Town
3. Account number 1234456
4. Checking account or Savings account
5. Statement Date: 12/23/08 to 01/22/09 (the date of this statement is 1/22/09)
6. $12,223.44 balance as of 1/22/09 (list this amount on the net worth statement)
Be sure to have a file folder with these statements. If you use online information, print the online statement.
Ideally, all net worth items are as of the same date. This is not always possible, but it is something to strive for. Get the dates as close to each other as possible. If you have an account for which you only get quarterly statements, then you might be stuck with an “old” balance.
Stay tuned for the details……
A net worth statement is simply a complete list of what you own and what you owe. During the divorce process, it is called an inventory. Start with determining what categories you will want to include. For example: real estate, bank accounts, investments (non-retirement), limited partnerships, retirement accounts (401k, 403b, IRA, pension plan), vehicles (includes boats, motorcycles, airplanes), other assets (think collections, artwork, tools), credit card balances, mortgage balance, vehicle loan balances.
Assemble all the statements (online or paper) from which you have obtained the values/balances for these items. Make an extra copy of those statements and store them in the file with your net worth statement. That way, you will save time and money when you give your attorney or financial advisor a copy of your net worth statement. Think of it as a paper trail or a pile of source documents.
Bring a currently updated file to your attorney interviews and to your first appointment with your divorce financial advisor.