One of the tasks that few of us enjoy is cleaning out paper files. Kowing what to keep and what to shred is hard enough when it is your own files but the task is rather daunting when you’re dealing with papers left behind by an aging (and sometimes confused) senior family member. Here’s some practical advice to get your started.
SAVE: Most documents must be kept for 7 years according to the Canada Revenue Agency website. In the case of income tax returns you need to keep the current year plus the 6 years prior. Therefore, anything prior to 2013 can be discarded in 2020. A general rule is to keep all documents related to major life events – births, marriages, divorces, automobile titles and home deeds should be stored safely for as long as the person owns the property. Wills and power of attorneys, property deeds and trusts, life-insurance policies, pension plan documents also need to be kept in a secure place.
SHRED : After one year you can safely shred bank and credit card statements, pay stubs, property and school tax bills, utility bills, medical bills (unless there is an unresolved insurance dispute or they are needed as proof of medical claims for income tax purposes). Be sure to keep the invoices for items that have a guarantee until your warranty expires and then these items can be shredded as well.
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