important documents

It can be challenging to know which documents are so critical that you will need to keep them for the rest of your life and which ones you can dispose of. In truth, many of these documents often end up sitting in a box, taking up space because you are unsure if they are something you need to keep. While keeping records is important, keeping some things forever may not be necessary. 

The Documents You Want to Keep

Some documents should be kept forever and appropriately stored for easy access. These documents include the following:

  • Social Security cards
  • Birth certificates
  • Marriage license
  • Death certificates
  • Current insurance policies
  • The most current version of your estate planning documents, such as your Last Will and Testament

The Documents You Do Not Need To Hold On To Forever

While the below documents are also important, they do not necessarily need to be hung on to forever. In many instances, it is enough to keep them for a certain amount of years (usually between five to seven). These documents include the following:

  • Credit card statements
  • Bank statements
  • Charitable donation paperwork
  • Tax returns
  • Investment records
  • Home improvement receipts


Why Is It Important to Keep Some Documents?

There are various reasons why it is crucial to keep some documents for a significant period of time. For instance, important papers can help prove certain events occurred and could be used to document financial transactions.

In addition, if you are ever a party to a lawsuit, you may need to produce specific types of documents to prove your claim. In these instances, it will be good to have critical records readily accessible.

Finally, having certain documents readily available for your loved ones can be vital in the event of your passing. This proactiveness can help your family settle your estate faster, particularly if the probate court requests specific types of information from them. 

How To Safely Get Rid of Documents

Although you do not need to keep certain documents for the rest of your life, it is important to properly get rid of them so that your personal information is not released to the public.

That is why before you start recycling or putting old documents in the trash, make sure you consider shredding the files, which is the most efficient and secure way to get rid of documentation, or at least try to cut up documents so it will make it harder to obtain your information.

Contact Ardent Guardian Today To Get Help With Your Estate Plan and Your Plans for the Future

If you are interested in learning more about the estate or financial documents that may require long-term safekeeping or wish to revise your estate plan, it is recommended that you consult with a seasoned Northern Virginia estate planning attorney today. Our legal team at Ardent Guardian can review the questions you have, provide you with the answers you need, and make sure that you and your family’s future are taken care of.  

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