Areas of Practice:

Elder Law
Estate Planning
Wills and Trusts
Estate Administration
Trust Administration
Guardianships
Conservatorships
Real Estate

DOCUMENT RETENTION

Maybe you have decided that this is the year you are going to get organized or get rid of some clutter.  As an attorney, I create a lot of paperwork and I review a lot of paperwork.  Clients often ask me how long to keep certain documents and how often they should review others.  The following is a list of my recommendations.

LEGAL PAPERS
Document                             Retention period                                  Review after/Where to obtain
Wills                                  never destroy original                        changes in circumstances or finances/file at death  
Powers of Attorney             never destroy original                        named agents change
Living Will                          never destroy original                        changes in the law or your wishes
Trusts                                never destroy original                        changes in circumstances or assets
Guardianship Letters            public document                               death of any party/obtain from court
Conservatorship Letters        public document                               death of any party/obtain from court
Birth Certificates                 never destroy original                         no need to review/may be used as ID
Death Certificates               never destroy original                         no need to review/Bureau of Vital Statistics
Adoption papers                 never destroy original                        no need to review
Citizenship papers               never destroy original                        no need to review
Naturalization Cert.            never destroy original                         no need to review
Marriage Certificate            never destroy original                         no need to review
Divorce Decree                   public document                                no need to review/obtain from court
Military Discharge               never destroy original                         no need to review/needed for military burial
Social Security Card            never destroy original                         no need to review/Social Security offices
Passport                            never destroy original                         update periodically at US Post Office
                TAX RECORDS
Bank statements                     keep for 7 years                                   no need to review
Canceled checks                     keep for 7 years                                   no need to review
Credit card stmt.                    keep for 7 years                                   no need to review
Home purchase/improvement  keep for 7 years                                   no need to review
Tax returns                            keep for 7 years                                   no need to review
                PROPERTY RECORDS
Household inventory             keep indefinitely                               update periodically
Photos of property                keep indefinitely                               update periodically/keep with will
Cemetery deeds                   never destroy original                        no need to review/mortuary
Real estate deeds                  public document                               no need to review
Retirement plans                  never destroy original                         review near retirement
Stock/bonds                         never destroy original                         review periodically
Vehicle titles                         never destroy original                         no need to review/Department of Motor Vehicles
                FINANCIAL RECORDS
Annuity contracts                 7 years after paid out                         review periodically till paid out
Loan agreements                 7 years after paid                               review as needed
Investment stmt.                 7 years min.                                      review as needed
MEDICAL RECORDS
Health records                      keep copies                                           review w/doctor periodically
Immunization records           keep copies                                           no need to review
                OTHER
Diplomas                            never destroy original                         no need to review
Insurance policies                never destroy original                         review as needed
Property tax statement         Public record                                     review as needed
Warranties                          destroy if item replaced/sold               review as needed

               
This article was written by Tamra K Waltemath of Tamra K. Waltemath, P.C.  This information is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.  For specific questions, you should consult a qualified attorney.  Tamra K. Waltemath is an elder law attorney focusing on wills, trusts, estate and trust administration, probate and non-probate transfers, guardianships and conservatorships.  She can be contacted at:  Tamra K. Waltemath, P.C., 3843 West 73rd Avenue, Westminster, CO  80030; 303-657-0360; or visit her website at: www.WaltemathLawOffice.com.

 


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