NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County


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Keep or Throw?

Keep or Throw?


                Despite the internet, storing info in the Cloud, burning info on a disc and a variety of other technology storage options, paper copies of documents are still a standard.  And after only a few months, those piles of paper can grow to great heights.  So what do you keep and for how long?


Retain for one year:

  • Utility bills
  • Checkbook ledgers
  • Paycheck stubs
  • Monthly mortgage statements
  • Expired insurance records

Keep for seven years

  • Bank statements
  • W-2 and 1099 forms
  • Receipts for tax purposes
  • Cancelled checks
  • Disability records
  • Unemployment income stubs
  • Medical bills/claims

Keep Indefinitely

  • Annual tax returns
  • Deeds, mortgages and bills of sale
  • Year-end statements for investments
  • Legal documents (birth certificates, marriage license, divorce papers, passports)
  • Home improvement documentation and receipts
  • Receipts for major purchases—for warranty and insurance purposes
  • Wills
  • Living wills
  • Power of attorney designation
  • Medical and burial instructions
  • Beneficiary directions
  • Real estate certificates
  • Current insurance policies
  • Medical records
  • Education records
  • Pension plan records
  • Retirement plan records
  • Business license
  • Vehicle titles and loan documents
  • House deeds and mortgage documents
  • Social security statements
  • Annual insurance policy statements
  • Retirement plan statements (401(k), 529, IRA, etc)


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