Is It Time to Clean Out the Family Filing Cabinet?


Keeping all of your key documents in one place makes it easier to grab these in the case of an emergency or find them in any other event in which you might need them. But if it’s been some time since you cleaned up the family filing cabinet, this might be a great opportunity to schedule a consultation with your financial planner, your accountant or even your estate planning lawyer to discuss changes in your strategy. 

This is a great time to do spring cleaning as it relates to your estate and your finances. If you’ve kept unnecessary old tax returns, utility bills or even medical records, now is a good opportunity to clean that out and leave the most important documents stored. You only need to keep your tax returns and related documents for a maximum of three years from the date the original return was filed.

However, if you are a business owner or individual filer, the IRS has the right to audit you for several years beyond that period. A general rule of thumb is that you can let these go after 7 years. You also don’t need to keep paper versions of these since digital records can be used in the event of an IRS audit. 

Self-filers and clients may choose to work with tax preparation companies that allow you to store your tax documents uploaded from a computer or mobile device. Whether it’s a power of attorney, a trust or your will, estate planning documents should always be stored safely. One document that must be stored in a physical location from an estate planning perspective is your will. 

There will be many hoops and jumps through the court in the event that you have to prove the will copy is valid. For more questions about the estate planning process, schedule a consultation with a lawyer in your area. 

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