Installment #2: What to throw away.

I spent all day yesterday going through the house and paperwork of one of our deceased clients. Sounds like fun, huh? :) While sorting through his precious saved grocery receipts I got to thinking, why do people keep all this stuff? He actually had saved an envelope that he had labeled “JUNK.” Why would you keep something like this?

It got me thinking about all the stuff I save. Some things I save because I think I might need it later, some for sentimental reasons, but working for a Trust Department has definitely made me think twice about keeping useless paperwork. Really, the only things you need to keep are legal information (like marriage licenses, birth/death certificates, passports, signed trust documents, wills, etc, etc, etc.), tax information (you should keep copies of your past tax returns for 7 years, and file all info you’ll need for next years taxes), and investment/financial information (always keep track of when you buy/sell investments like retirement funds, stock, cds, mutual funds, real estate, etc – why? you’ll need to keep track of the capital gains on your property and investments. How much did you buy it for? And how much was it worth when you sold it?). Other than that, receipts, bills, bank statements...review them, reconcile your checkbook and accounts, resolve any issues, hold on to them for a little while maybe, then shred them.

Please, please, for the sake of anyone who might someday have to go through all that stuff, please be intentional about what you hold on to. It will make your life so much easier to be organized with your paperwork.



sarah j. 4/8/05 1:45 PM  

Ok, so I know this is an older post, but I just now read it. I didn't know you worked in the Trust Department!!! I did that for over a year and a half right after I graduated! :) I can completely relate to having to go through deceased clients belongings and sorting through their 'treasures' [uh...trash]...that was totally my job!! :P


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