It’s no secret that everyone wants to reduce the amount of paperwork in their lives. However, when it comes to specific documents, keeping them safe may be in your best interest. The last thing you want to do is throw out a critical estate planning document and not have it when you need it most. That is why in the below post, we will review which documents you may want to keep forever and which ones you can toss. 

The Documents You Should Always Keep

Everyone has certain documents they want to ensure are correctly stored and kept safe. However, this list of documents may be more extensive than some people initially thought. Documents that you should consider keeping forever include:

  • Social Security cards
  • Academic records
  • Adoption records
  • Birth certificates
  • Baptismal certificates
  • Marriage license
  • Divorce documents
  • Medical records
  • Military records
  • Passports
  • Employment records, including any performance reviews, clauses, disciplinary agreements, or clauses
  • Retirement and pension paperwork
  • Your current insurance policies, including your health and life insurance policies
  • Death certificates
  • The newest version of your estate planning documents, like your Last Will and Testament

The Documents You Should Keep for a Few Years

There are also specific documents that may not need to be kept forever but should be held onto long-term (between five and seven years). In some cases, the documents may lapse after a certain period of time. In those cases, they can be disposed of once the date has passed. These documents include the following:

  • Tax returns
  • Cancelled checks
  • Bank statements
  • Brokerage documents 
  • IRS forms W-2 and 1099
  • Documentation related to charitable donations
  • Insurance documentation until they lapse
  • Investment paperwork
  • Sales receipts until the warranty expiration date passes
  • Tuition payment receipts

The Documents You Should Keep for Up To One Year

In addition to the above documents, you will want to hold onto the following documents for at least one year:

  • Your annual 401k statements
  • Receipts related to large tax-deductible purchases
  • Stock purchases
  • Pay stubs and paychecks

The Documents You Should Keep for One Month

Finally, the documents you should generally keep for at least one month before you throw them away include:

  • Billing statements, such as utility or cell phone bill statements
  • Credit card statements
  • Bank statements

Why You Should Keep These Documents?

It is crucial to retain certain documents, particularly your estate planning papers, and store them in a secure location. In the event of any unfortunate circumstances, having these documents can assist your family members in fulfilling your final wishes.

However, to know more about these specific documents and which ones you should consider storing, reach out to an experienced Louisiana estate planning attorney to discuss these issues in detail.

Contact Losavio & DeJean, LLC Today and Learn More About Your Estate Planning Options

If you are considering creating an estate plan in Louisiana or want further details about the process or storing critical documents, contact Losavio & DeJean, LLC today. Our legal team can review your questions and concerns, help you understand the process, and assist you in creating a plan that works for you and your future.