When to toss or keep those important documents

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Do you keep it or throw it away?  Here is a guide to help you with your important documents.

Some folks are hoarders by nature, and when it comes to important documents, you could be holding on to trash, or throwing away necessary papers.

Documents you keep for life include birth, death and marriage certificates, adoption papers, divorce decrees, health records, life insurance policies, wills, and social security cards.

7-year: Most tax documents are suggested to be kept for a minimum of three years, but to be on the safe-side, it is recommended to keep them for seven years. It is a good idea to separate by year so it will be easier to find certain documents when needed.

Auto: Any documents dealing with your vehicle such as registrations, repair receipts, warranties, and user manuals should be kept as long as you own the car.

Bank Statements: Banks generally store statements for seven years.  Check with your local bank to see their policy.  Hold on to canceled checks for a year.

Monthly Bills: After checking to make sure they are accurate, you can throw away monthly bills, unless you need them to claim tax deductions.  If you are going to cancel a service, hold on to the final statement for a few years to prove your account is paid in full.

Credit Accounts: After checking their accuracy, credit account statements can be thrown away, unless you need them for tax purposes or if you have an outstanding loan. Records that pertain to a settled collections account should be kept indefinitely for proof is the issue arises.

Employment Records: W-2 forms should be kept for seven years.

Pay Stubs: Pay stubs can be tossed after receiving your W-2 and made sure all details are correct.

Real Estate Records: All home documents should be held onto for the time you own the house. This includes sales contracts, deeds, mortgage paperwork, appraisals, etc.  Keep any transaction records and receipts of home of costly home repairs for tax purposes.

Insurance: Any claims information or expired policies can be thrown away.  However, store nay papers that are connected to insurance payouts for at least seven years.  Hold on to current coverage policies until they are irrelevant.

Receipts: Hold on to receipts in case of insurance claims.  Also, keep receipts from items that come with a warranty so you'll have proof of purchase.

Warranties: Warranties can be thrown away when they expire.

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