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Is offshore banking illegal?

Have you gotten the idea that offshore banking is illegal? Whenever you hear about it, do you think of movies about tax evasion, drug running and other such activities?

People often have a bit of a mixed-up idea when it comes to offshore banking, probably because of the way it is portrayed in film and popular culture. The reality is that offshore banking is not illegal. You do not have to keep all of your money at banks in the United States if you don't want to.

After all, perhaps you travel a lot for work and you need access to your money. Maybe your have a company that operates overseas. Perhaps you just like to move your money around so that one economic crash does not take everything you have.

Regardless, what you are doing is legal. What is illegal is hiding that activity and trying to act as though the money is not yours.

This is where things sometimes get contentious in a high-asset divorce. Remember, full disclosure is required by the court. You must list all of your assets so that you and your spouse can split them fairly, in accordance with state law. You cannot "forget" to mention the money in your offshore accounts in the hope that your ex will not get any of it.

As you go through your divorce, make sure that you fully understand your legal rights and obligations. You do not want one simple mistake to land you in legal trouble. List all of your financial assets, and do not leave anything out.

Source: Investopedia, "Offshore Banking Isn’t Illegal. Hiding It Is," Tim Parker, accessed May 04, 2018

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