When it comes to important paperwork, sometimes it can be difficult to know what documents to save and why. From financial documents, insurance policies, to invoices and receipts, what do you need to hold onto and what can you toss?
Most insurance policies are different, but there are some that should be saved past their expiration date. Those may include auto, homeowners, and umbrella policies.
If you’ve picked up a lawsuit following an auto accident, a lawsuit that occurs during your policy isn’t required to be filed “until before the statute of limitations tolls.” Normally, the statute runs anywhere from 1-3 years, depending on where you are located.
Sometimes there are special cases in which a minor is involved. In this event, the open period for lawsuits is extended until the minor reaches 18 years old. Of course, there can be exceptions that will postpone the start date of the period of limitations, when a previous injury is discovered. For example, in continuing tobacco litigations, there are some liability policies dating back to the 1940s.
With this noted, it makes sense to save your insurance policy documents; with the most cautious individuals, most would save them for 21 years or longer.
INVOICES & RECEIPTS FOR PAID BILLS
Any receipt or invoice that helps to corroborate a tax deduction should be saved. If you’ve purchased any expensive, keep those receipts. They will help with proving your claim with an insurance company. Additionally, you should keep appraisals that were used to establish value under an insurance policy. Receipts and invoices for any home improvement projects, such as a new roof, landscaping, etc., should be saved for tax purposes. They help to enhance the value of your home.
BANK & CREDIT CARD RECORDS
Bank and credit card records should be saved for at least 6 years, experts say, in case you were to get hit for proof of payment for any previous purchase. Any lawsuits that are filed due to breach of contract is usually not required by the statute of limitations until 6 years has ended; however, these laws vary from state to state. Some experts will say to add an extra year, and also recommend saving canceled checks and other related documents, for seven years. It also depends on how much space you have to save these documents.
EMPLOYEE BENEFIT PLANS, PENSIONS, AND OTHER FRINGE BENEFITS
By saving these records, you have documents to prove what benefits you are entitled to, to monitor any changes made to the plans, and to have a record of what you’re entitled to.
OTHER ADVICE AND INFORMATION
If you have complicated tax returns or extensive holdings, you may want to consult an accountant about record retention, and even potentially a financial advisor later on. If you decide to throw out any records, be sure to use a paper shredder, so criminals will not be able to get a hold of your personal information.
Source: Herbert S. Denenberg, Ph.D., a consumer and investigative reporter for NBC-10, WCAU-TV, Philadelphia from his column, ‘On Your Side.’ Dr. Denenberg also served as Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner and a member of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission during the 1970s.
St. Anne’s Retirement Community’s Mission Committee and Green Team Committee
would like to thank you for all that you do through recycling
and conserving resources at St. Anne’s and at home
for our Mission of Healing Earth, Healing Lives.
America Recycles Day, a Keep America Beautiful national initiative, is the only nationally-recognized day dedicated to promoting and celebrating recycling in the United States. Each year, on and in the weeks leading into Nov.15, thousands of communities across the country participate by promoting environmental citizenship and taking action to increase and improve recycling in America.
This America Recycles Day, November 15, EPA recognizes our nation’s progress on recycling, which has contributed to American prosperity. The recycling rate has more than tripled over the last 30 years to the current rate of 35 percent, and this steady growth has created jobs and wages for Americans, and has supported community development. For example, according to our most recent data, recycling and reuse activities in the United States created 757,000 jobs and produced $36 billion in wages in a single year.
There is opportunity for even greater contribution, as the most recent data shows that materials worth $9 billion are thrown away each year. As we celebrate the 21st anniversary of America Recycles Day, the EPA encourages every American to recycle more and trash less to minimize environmental effects, create jobs and strengthen the economy.
Green tips for the office:
- Instead of printing hard copies of your documents, save them to your hard drive or email them to yourself to save paper.
- Make your printer environmentally friendly. Change your printer settings to make double-sided pages. Use small point fonts when possible and use the “fast draft” setting when possible to save ink.
- Pay your bills via e-billing programs when possible to save paper.
- Use paperclips (over staples) when possible.
- Reuse envelopes with metal clasps and reuse file folders by sticking a new label over the previous one.