If you’re like most people, you’ve got lots of paper. Some of it you need to keep, and some of it you don’t. Here’s a look at what to hang on to and the best place to store it.
It’s in the Box
A safe deposit box at your bank or a fireproof box in your home should hold birth certificates for you and other family members, marriage and divorce documents, naturalization papers, adoption papers, and death certificates. You may also want to keep property deeds and vehicle titles there as well. And you may want to include stock certificates and bonds that aren’t held by your broker.
Let Your Lawyer Hold It
Your will, power of attorney, health care proxy, trust documents, and other legal papers should be on file with your lawyer. You’ll probably want to keep copies of these documents in your home files and give copies to your personal representative or executor.
On Your Own
Keep records of stock purchases used for determining cost basis, income-tax returns and supporting documents, insurance policies, warranties, and receipts for home improvements in your home filing cabinet where they’re easy to access if you need them.
What To Toss
Credit card statements, receipts, and similar items can be tossed quarterly if you won’t need them for tax purposes. Consider shredding these and other sensitive records before putting them in the trash.
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