How Should I Take Care Of Legal Documents?

A life insurance policy can provide for those you leave behind if they have access to it.

According to a New York Times report, individuals should take the necessary precautions to safeguard their documents. The Internal Revenue Service may request income and deduction forms for at least three years following an accurate tax rebate. Those who commit fraud or evasion may be forced to produce documents dating back much further.

There are some forms that should never be discarded. Consumers may benefit from bankruptcy and legal filings in the future, while inheritance, wills, and insurance information will be useful after their death. These can also be abused if they fall into the hands of the wrong people.

“If you want to keep documents in electronic form, most banks or brokerages let you retrieve printable PDF or HTML forms of statements and other records that you can save to your storage drive,” the report says. “You can also scan other documents to electronic form.”

Keep all ATM receipts and bank statements until your monthly accounts are reconciled. Keep statements until tax time in case questions arise, then shred any information containing account numbers.

Credit card bills are not required to be kept until payment is made or a charitable donation is made using your credit card. Again, save your receipts for tax season.

Monthly investment statements are not required, but annual statements must be filed.

In terms of insurance, keep all paperwork for as long as you have the policy and any unresolved claims of coverage. Keep any records (explanation-of-benefit forms, receipts, and invoices) pertaining to ongoing treatments for health insurance. It may be a good idea to save health insurance receipts for a year in case problems arise.

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