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Identify, properly value retirement accounts in high-asset divorce

Divorce-related stories a decade or so more ago might have seemed a bit devoid of baby-boomer references generally.

These days, conversely, boomers feature prominently and consistently in divorce news in Massachusetts and nationally, especially when it comes to assets in play and property division considerations.

Take a recent CNBC story, for instance, which reminds readers that, “For baby boomers, divorce is soaring.” That article underscores the point that, for some individuals in their 50s and 60s (and even beyond that), divorce can be “downright scary” for its downside financial potential, if they lack resources and are not prepared for the change.

At the same time, though, that media focus on boomer divorces duly points out that legions of older divorcing couples have considerable wealth in various retirement accounts, and for an obvious reason.

That is this: Those accounts were often opened decades ago and have been steadily added to ever since. The magic of compounding has easily transformed many of them from repositories of modest wealth in their early years to high-powered growth machines over time.

“If it’s been maxed out over an entire career,” notes one CNBC commentator in referring to just a single account, “it could be close to $1 million — it’s a big asset.”

And it will likely be deemed as marital property, which makes it vitally important to a spouse who seeks an equitable property division that it is identified and accurately valued.

As the above-cited article points out, myriad and complex considerations can attach to high-value retirement accounts in boomer divorces, including the tax implications tied to a distribution.

Those considerations render it logical and reasonable for a party involved in a high net worth dissolution to seek guidance and close counsel from a proven high-asset divorce attorney.

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