Personal Documents: Save or Shred?

By Tiffany Williams, Managing Executive, FineMark National Bank & Trust office at Shell Point Retirement Community

Do you keep boxes of old bank statements, files full of tax returns and piles of paperwork and receipts because you think you might need to refer to them one day? Free yourself of clutter by reviewing these document retention guidelines to help determine what to discard and what to save.

After 7 years, it is safe to discard:

  • Tax returns
  • 1099 Forms
  • W-2 Forms
  • Banking, retirement account and CD statements
  • Schedule K-1s
  • Loan records (after payoff)
  • Insurance policies (after expiration)
  • Year end brokerage statements
  • Medical bills

 However, you should always save:

  • House records
  • Birth and Death certificates
  • Marriage certificates
  • Medical records
  • Wills and powers of attorney
  • Trust agreements
  • Detailed list of financial assets held
  • Alimony, custody, or prenuptial agreements
  • Military records
  • Photos and video of valuables

One way to safeguard personal information before you throw it out is to shred it. Most office supply stores sell shredding machines to make it easy to dispose of confidential documents. FineMark National Bank & Trust, which has an office on The Island at Shell Point Retirement Community, offers free document shredding events twice a year to give residents freedom from document clutter. If you have questions about this article, contact us by phone at (239) 461-5999.