March 18, 2009

Definitely Not a Paperless Society

In this post we’ll tell you about the types of documents you should keep. In a future post we’ll discuss how to keep them safe.

There are at least three types of documents you should keep:

1.    Identity
2.    Financial
3.    Historical

Identity documents include:

  • Birth certificates
  • Driver’s License
  • Health Card
  • Passports
  • SIN cards
  • Military documents
  • Death certificates
  • Marriage and Divorce Certificates

Financial documents include:

  • Your Will
  • Power of Attorney
  • Insurance
  • Property deeds
  • Car ownership
  • Investment and retirement plans
  • Tax returns (and the documents and receipts that were used to complete the return) for the past 7 years
  • Receipts for items under warranty
  • A Will or POA for which you are the executor


  • Your most advanced Graduation Diploma
  • Family photographs

There are also items you don’t need to keep. Keep only those bills and receipts that you may to refer to in the future, for example for warranty information. Once you’ve recognized the purchase has been properly recorded on your credit card statement you can destroy the receipt.

Bank transaction stubs are not required once you’ve confirmed your bank statement has captured the information correctly. Pre-approved credit card solicitations should also be discarded.

For any document you’re destroying use a paper shredder to make it unreadable. Some of these documents will have enough identity information on it that thieves could use it to steal from you.

We encourage you to seek professional advice; your lawyer and accountant can provide expert advice. This post is to help you begin thinking about, and doing something about all your papers.

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