Having an organized approach to financial records can remove much of the stress associated with living. We all play many roles, each with a trail of paper attached.

What to keep
Knowing what to keep by separating your papers by your need to use them, keeping short-term items together and a longer term items together.

Immediate needs files should include items for the past year including

  • Unpaid bills
  • Paid bills
  • Bank statements
  • Credit card statements
  • An updated resume
  • Income tax receipts for deductions
  • Major purchase receipts
  • Insurance policies

Long term files should include

  • Bank statements (7 years)
  • Credit card statements with home improvement expenses
  • Canceled checks (7 years)
  • Warranties and operating instructions for appliances
  • Income tax record and back up for previous three years
  • Gift tax returns
  • Inheritance papers
  • Retirement and all investment statements (all year end)
  • Reports from trusts
  • Birth certificates
  • Social security cards
  • Burial vault/plot deeds
  • Will/living wills
  • Powers of attorney
  • Car titles
  • House titles/deeds

What about taxes?

There are two types of tax information that you need to be concerned about: information you need in case of an audit and information you need to support your claims of income.

Keeping tax returns and supporting documents for seven years (because the IRS has six years from when you file to investigate.

Keep forever or until assets are sold

  • Receipts for home improvements
  • Receipts for major appliances
  • Annual investment statements
  • Gift tax returns
  • Inheritance papers
  • Copy of your will
  • Health care proxy forms
  • Power of attorney form

Conveniently located in Central New York state, Ann Wolfson Associates is a financial planning and consulting firm dedicated to helping individuals, families and organizations reach their financial goals. If you have questions about this article or if you would like to become a client of Ann Wolfson Associates, please call (315)449-4730.