Every family has some business, home, and personal records that should be kept. Many clients ask for help in organizing and keeping records. Here are some guidelines that may help you.
Automobile Title. Keep it as long as you have the car...in a strong box. You will need it to sell the car or borrow money on it.
Bank Statements and Canceled Checks. Keep statements a few years. Tax payment checks and tax deductible items used on income tax returns should be kept indefinitely. G. I. insurance checks, checks for paying off indebtedness, and security investment checks should be kept. Keep rent checks as long as you are on the premises. The family business file is the place.
Birth Certificate. Keep in a strong box or safety deposit box. There is a possibility of needing it many times as proof of birth.
Evidence of Debt. Copies of all promissory notes, installment/sale contracts, liens and chattels-all the papers that show you owe money to someone else or that you pledge security are important. Likewise, keep receipts for any payment for indebtedness. Save records of paid-off debts for three years. Keep these with business papers or with income tax returns.
Guarantees, Instruction Books and Care Labels. Keep for at least the life of the guarantee. Keep with instruction books, which are kept as long as you own the item.
Insurance Policies of All kinds. Keep safe! Always!
Investment Records. Very important! For stocks and bonds keep indefinitely a record that shows: name of the company, number of shares bought, serial number, date of purchase, date of subsequent sale, amount paid, amount received, including stamp taxes and commissions, dividends or interest received.
Marriage and Divorce Records. Keep always and in a strong box.
Military Service Records. The discharge certificate must be recorded with the county recorder. All orders to active and inactive duty, commission, record of medical treatment, G.I. Bill education documents are to be kept indefinitely in a safe place.
Real Estate. Deeds must be recorded but keep a copy safe. Mortgages, certificates of title, release statements, etc. should be kept, too.
Receipts, Sales Slips and Receipted Bills. Keep a couple of years. Save tax receipts, rent and mortgage receipts, insurance and interest receipts, and those for expenses deducted on income tax returns. Keep sales slips until you are sure the merchandise is satisfactory and will not have to be returned.
Savings Bonds. Keep the bonds in the safe deposit box until sold. A list of the bonds including the serial number, denomination, date bought, when redeemed, and the amount received should be kept in a place other than where the bonds are.
Tax Returns. Keep duplicate copies of local, state, and federal tax returns with the receipt and withholding statement attached and receipts or canceled checks for charitable contributions for which you take deductions for at least five years.
Will, Trust, Powers of Attorney and Social Security Card. Keep indefinitely in the strong box.