How long should I keep paperwork from a foreclosure?


Q. I have a dilly of a question. We lost our home in 2016. The whole process started in 2013 and Hurricane Sandy complicated the situation even more. We filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2014. I am trying to consolidate paperwork and files. I need to know what I need to keep and what I can throw away regarding the foreclosure. I have two full boxes with documents from two different banks, insurance policies, dating back to 2005, realtor contracts, all the legal papers from the foreclosing lawyers and much more. We did buy a new home at the end of 2020 so everything is good there.
— Unsure

A. We’re so sorry you’ve had to endure these financial challenges.

Sandy indeed wreaked havoc for so many families.

Deciding how long to keep paperwork can be tough, but sometimes it’s better to be safe.

Generally, it is always best to keep all of your discharge paperwork from the bankruptcy, said Karra Kingston, a bankruptcy attorney in Union City.

She said you should also keep the foreclosure paperwork.

“While you may never need it, it could be good to keep just in case you need it to show another mortgage company in the future,” she said. “You should always keep a copy of the discharge paperwork from the bankruptcy court to ensure that if any creditor contacts you, you can use it as proof that you filed a bankruptcy and we’re given a discharge.”

But keeping physical papers isn’t your only option. Consider scanning the documents and keeping digital copies ing them all in a folder on your computer, but be sure to back them up in several places, including in the cloud, to make sure you always have access to them.

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This story was originally published on May 26, 2023. presents certain general financial planning principles and advice, but should never be viewed as a substitute for obtaining advice from a personal professional advisor who understands your unique individual circumstances.