Areas of Practice:

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

Document Retention

Maybe you have made a New Year resolution 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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Westminster, Colorado 80030

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