Jun 2015

Toss It or Keep It: When Can I Throw Away Documents?

Estate Planning Tips: Which Paperwork to Save

Whether you’re spring cleaning or just trying to declutter, you probably wonder how long you need to hang on to estate planning paperwork, legal documents, and receipts. If you’re like most people, you have thrown something away, only to realize down the road that you should have kept it.

When it comes to estate planning, the question of what to save and what to toss becomes vitally important. Here are some general tips for what to keep and for how long.

Personal Records

You should keep estate planning documents like birth certificates, social security records, marriage certificates, divorce decrees, and adoption records forever. Store them in a bank deposit box or at home in a fireproof safe whenever possible.

You should also make copies of these important personal records in case the originals are destroyed. Having copies will help you track down the appropriate entity to contact to receive replacements.

Receipts and Warranty Records

Keep receipts and warranty records for as long as you own the item. Examples include lawn mowers, major appliances, fitness equipment, and other major purchases.

Tax Records

The federal statute of limitations for audits is three years, however, many people opt to keep their tax records for up to seven years. Because Missouri does not have an explicit statute of limitations for tax fraud, it’s best to speak one-on-one with your estate planning attorney at law regarding how many years you should keep state tax records. Whatever you decide, make sure you keep your complete tax records, including your return, all W-2s, 1099s, and all other paperwork associated with your returns.

Springfield, Missouri Estate Planning Law Firm

At the Law Offices of Randy L. Smith, LLC, we help people create estate planning documents that provide peace of mind. Call today at (417) 841-2775 to speak to an experienced estate planning lawyer about your case.

This website has been prepared by The Law Office of Randy L. Smith, LLC for informational purposes only and does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. The information is not provided in the course of an attorney-client relationship and is not intended to substitute for legal advice from an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.