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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Document Retention

If you perform an online search for "document retention guidelines" you'll find a bunch of information regarding document storage periods but you have to dig pretty deep to find hard and fast rules.  Even then you may come up empty-handed.


Even the irs.gov site has an "it depends" clause.  So how long should you keep documents?  Well, we did some of that research for you and included our findings in a new checklist that we provide to anyone who might find it useful.
What can I throw away?

We have to add a disclaimer just like all of the internet sites we researched because there seems to always be an "it depends" clause depending on the type of document and circumstances.  Tax returns for example have different retention requirements depending on the form and if there was some type of issue with the return.  So in our checklist, we added the longest period of time to cover all circumstances just to be safe.  Retention requirements change over the years, so what is required today may not be the same next year.  Be sure to check the appropriate official website periodically to see if requirements for your files have changed before discarding them.

Save space and money!

The beauty of going digital with your storage is that you no longer have to keep buying storage cabinets to hold those documents for years and years plus you have access to them even away from home.  But no matter how you file them, you still have to come up with a way to organize your files so you can find them easily when needed.  And then there's the issue of others needing to access that information in the event something happens to you. How will they know where you've stored your files?

Mark Snow blogged about your digital legacy in an earlier blog here.  If you haven't seen that blog you may want to read it for some helpful information and insight into your digital legacy and rightful ownership of your files. This is becoming more of an issue with our ever changing technology and move away from paper.  

Now, where did I file that?
The beauty of SafelyFiled is that for a very affordable price, you can store all of your digital documents in one place and keep them as long as you want.   We've also thought about the paper files that you need originals of by adding a "Location" field.  Here you can build your own list of locations where you keep the original paper copies of the file.  That way if your attorney, executor, spouse or children need to find those papers and you aren't there to tell them where you've filed them (or you can't remember either), the info is captured in that location field on your files.  The list of documents that you need originals of is relatively short so the need for physical storage is minimal.  Having a digital copy of those originals is a very good idea in the event of loss or need to replace them.

This a dry topic but we reward you for reading this far! 


In addition to capturing document retention info, our Documentation Retention Checklist includes information on whether you need to keep the original of a document as well as recommendations on who you may want to share that document with in the event something happens to you.

Feel free to download this and our other editable checklists here.   When you've gathered your files together, consider storing the digital images of them in SafelyFiled and then sharing them with those who may need access to them. 

To entice you to do that and as a reward for reading this full blog we want to give you a special introductory offer to get you started with a SafelyFiled membership.   If you sign up here you will automatically be given a 50% discount for your first year's membership.  Instead of the normal $48 annual membership fee, you'll pay only $24!

Now, how's that for a reward?


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