Below is a list of what you need to keep, where we recommend you keep it and when you can discard it. Keeping these records stored safely, where you and others can find them, can save you time and greatly increases the likelihood that they will not get lost or misfiled.
|Tax and investment documents||Store in:||Shred after:||Copies to:|
|Annuity contract||Locked filing cabinet||7 years after annuity paid out||Financial Professional|
|Bank statement and canceled checks||Locked filing cabinet||7 years|
|Credit card statement||Locked filing cabinet||7 years|
|Form 8606||Locked filing cabinet||7 years after IRA is liquidated|
|Home purchase/improvement*||Locked filing cabinet||10 years after home is sold|
|Investment account statement||Locked filing cabinet||7 years after investments are sold|
|Loan agreement||Locked filing cabinet||10 years after repaid or refinanced|
|Pension plan documents||Locked filing cabinet||Never discard||Financial Professional|
|Real estate purchase/improvements||Locked filing cabinet||10 years after sold|
|Stock/bond certificate||Fire and burglar resistant safe||N/A — Surrender upon sale†|
|Tax return/supporting documents||Locked filing cabinet||Refer to IRS Publication 17 (chapter 1, “How Long to Keep Records”)|
|Originals you may need||Store in:||Shred after:||Copies to:|
|Adoption papers||Bank safety deposit box||Never discard||Executor, lawyer|
|Birth certificate||Fire and burglar resistant safe||Never discard1|
|Cemetery deed||Fire and burglar resistant safe||Never discard||Heir, Executor|
|Citizenship papers||Bank safety deposit box||Never discard||Executor|
|Death certificate||Locked filing cabinet||Never discard1||Executor|
|Diploma||Fire and burglar resistant safe||Never discard|
|Divorce decree||Bank safety deposit box||Never discard2||Lawyer|
|Guardianship arrangements||Fire and burglar resistant safe||Never discard3||Executor, guardian|
|Health/immunization records||Fire and burglar resistant safe||Never discard||Doctor, heir|
|Household inventory with photos||Bank safety deposit box||Never discard||Insurance agent|
|Lawsuits||Bank safety deposit box||Never discard4||Lawyer|
|Marriage certificate||Fire and burglar resistant safe||Never discard1||Executor|
|Medical directive||Fire and burglar resistant safe||New one signed||Doctor, heir, nursing home|
|Military discharge||Bank safety deposit box||Never discard|
|Naturalization certification||Fire and burglar resistant safe||Never discard|
|Passport||Fire and burglar resistant safe||After replaced|
|Power of attorney||Fire and burglar resistant safe||New one signed||Attorney-In-Fact|
|Real estate deed||Fire and burglar resistant safe||10 years after sold|
|Retirement plan benefits||Fire and burglar resistant safe||Never discard||Financial Professional|
|Social Security card||Fire and burglar resistant safe||Never discard|
|Trust document||Fire and burglar resistant safe||Never discard||Trustee, attorney|
|Vehicle title/warranty||Fire and burglar resistant safe||N/A – Surrender on sale|
|Veteran’s papers||Bank safety deposit box||Never discard|
|Wills||Fire and burglar resistant safe||Never discard||Executor|
|Other documents||Store in:||Shred after:||Copies to:|
|College financial aid||Locked filing cabinet||10 years after student loans repaid|
|Insurance policy/invoices||Locked filing cabinet||1 year after termination|
|Letter of last instructions||Fire and burglar resistant safe||After writing a new one||Executor|
|Loan statement||Locked filing cabinet||10 years after repaid|
|Passwords||Fire and burglar resistant safe||Password changed or related account closed|
|Personal property tax receipt||Locked filing cabinet||2 years5|
|Property tax assessment||Locked filing cabinet||New one arrives|
|Receipt (items under warranty)||Locked filing cabinet||Warranty expires|
|Receipt (expensive items)||Fire and burglar resistant safe||Item sold or donated|
|Social Security statement||Locked filing cabinet||New one arrives||Financial Professional|
|Vehicle registration||Locked filing cabinet||New one arrives|
|Warranty (with stapled receipt)||Locked filing cabinet||Disposal of item/warranty expires|
1. Birth, marriage, and death certificates may be obtained from county or city recorder of deeds where event occurred.
2. Copy of divorce decree may be obtained from court where decree was entered.
3. If ward is disabled, discard 10 years after ward’s majority if guardianship arose because ward was a minor.
4. Copy of legal pleadings and judgement may be obtained from court where case was filed.
5. Copy may be obtained from assessor’s office of county where the property is kept.
Our firm is not a tax or legal advisor. This information is intended to provide a general overview of document retention. Sources include National Association of Professional Organizers; International Association of Registered Financial Consultants; Sterck Kulik O’Neill Accounting Group, Inc.; and Edelman Financial Services. It is not intended to provide tax, accounting or legal advice of any type. Please consult with your tax or legal advisor for advice about your particular situation.
A revocable living trust can accomplish a variety of personal, family and tax planning goals. It typically lets you retain complete control of trust assets during your lifetime, but it also lets you appoint someone who will manage your assets for you, either during your lifetime or after your death.
We believe that the best approach to financial decisions is to start with your life and build your money around it. As you evaluate any advanced planning strategy, ask:
We encourage you to begin a conversation with your financial professional.
Your financial professional is prepared to work with you and your attorney to develop and implement your estate plan, which may include a revocable living trust.