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Document Retention Guidelines

How long should you keep financial records? The list below can help you determine how long to keep documentation. Be sure to properly destroy any documentation with personally identifiable information on it. Documentation should be shredded or burned to avoid identity theft issues.

Document Expiration Date 
   
Life and estate planning documents Keep the most current copy
Utility bills Properly dispose of statements more than 1 year old unless you operate a business and need the bills for tax purposes
   
Supermarket receipts Destroy immediately unless you need them for tax purposes
   
Cancelled checks Destroy after one year unless you need them for tax or insurance purposes
   
Store receipts

Destroy after one year unless you need them for tax or insurance purposes; note that you should keep receipts for products that are still under  warranty

   
Bank statements Destroy after three years
   
Credit card statements Destroy after three years
   
Insurance records

Keep as long as the policy lasts, and longer if you have tail coverage and are covered for a certain period after the policy expires

   

Tax records including forms and statements that show income or verify eductions as well as copies of your return

Can be destroyed after 7 years
   

Homeowner records including the deed and title to your house, closing statement and any home
improvement receipts

No expiration - keep indefinitely
   

Investment records such as stock purchase agreements and retirement and brokerage
statements

No expiration - keep indefinitely
   

Important life documents such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, diplomas, auto titles, divorce decrees and military records

No expiration - keep indefinitely

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