Everybody has a paper trail – everything from utility bills and financial statements to tax records and receipts. With so many records it may be difficult to determine which you should keep (and for how long).
Filing and organizing records is critical to maintaining healthy finances. Not only will tax time be easier, but your spouse and other family members will be able to locate important information should the unexpected happen to you.
Following these guidelines may help you organize your records.
- Destroy checks that have no permanent importance, but keep checks related to your taxes, business expenses, and housing and mortgage payments.
- Utility bills: Throw out (unless you need them for tax purposes).
- Tax records: Most experts recommend destroying these after six years.
- Insurance records: Keep for the life of your policy
- Life documents (birth certificate, marriage certificate, diplomas, divorce decrees and military records): Store in a safe deposit box indefinitely.
- Homeowner records (deed and title to your house): Do not throw away.
- Life- and estate-planning documents: Keep the most current copy.
- Receipts for major purchases, such as furniture and electronics: Keep as long as you own the item.
It's also important to keep a list detailing where your records are and how to access them. Store this in a safe place or with a trusted family member or friend (be sure to keep a copy). List each type of account, the identification number and contact information of the appropriate agent.
We Can Help Keep Your Records Secure
Safe deposit boxes at PeoplesBank are a secure way to keep original copies of your most important documents. We offer a variety of sizes to fit your unique needs. Contact us to learn more.