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.

DocumentExpiration Date 
Life and estate planning documentsKeep the most current copy
Utility billsProperly dispose of statements more than 1 year old unless you operate a business and need the bills for tax purposes
Supermarket receiptsDestroy immediately unless you need them for tax purposes
Cancelled checksDestroy 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 statementsDestroy after three years
Credit card statementsDestroy 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 deductions 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

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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