How Long Should I Keep It?

Here's a quick reference on how long to keep documents (measured from the date you filed your tax returns):

  • Personal Tax Returns: 6 years. Back-up information: 3 years, (unless you have cost basis information you are maintaining on assets you still hold i.e.: real estate, stock, bonds or other investments).
  • Securities Information: Keep cost basis information on the purchase of securities for as long as you are still bolding onto the stock, mutual fund, bond etc. All original securities purchase documentation should be retained for 3 years after the position is sold.
  • Real Estate Information: Keep closing statements from the purchase of real estate property. Once the property is sold, keep the closing statement from the sale for 3 years. Also include paperwork regarding mortgages.  Keep a running list of all capital improvements to your personal residence, rental property or second home.
  • Wills & Estate Documents: Keep all trust agreements, living wills, health care proxies, power of attorney forms, etc.
  • Other: Keep all current, in force insurance policies. Keep birth certificates, stock certificates and any antique, jewelry or real estate appraisals.
  • Still unsure? We recommend you err on the side of caution and keep information in question. For more information contact your financial advisor.