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How Long Do You Keep Your Paperwork After Discharge?

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  • How Long Do You Keep Your Paperwork After Discharge?

    I've been going through my file cabinet drawers and have stacks and stacks of files pertaining to my pro se bk -- bills from my credit card companies from 6 years ago, letters from numerous collection agencies, lawsuit letters, trustee letters, judgment letters, etc.

    Aside than keeping my discharge letter and the 50 page document I submitted when filing bankruptcy, do I need to keep any of this junk now? It takes up a whole drawer in my file cabinet and just makes me feel bad.

    I do plan to keep:

    1. My discharge letter.
    2. My 50 page document submitted when I filed bankruptcy.
    3. Lawsuit letter.
    4. Judgment letter.

    Nothing else.

    I just feel that all that stuff is cluttering up my life! I want to have a shredding party!

    What do you think?
    Filed BK 7 Pro Se: August 2010 341 Meeting: September 2010
    November 2010
    Closed: January 2011!!!

  • #2
    Because you.could get your discharge paper and original document filed, personally i wouldnt keep any of it. These are always available to you on Pacer.
    8-07-09-filed Chapter 7

    Life is not what challenges you face, but how you face those challenges.


    • #3
      Originally posted by NoMoreCards View Post
      Because you.could get your discharge paper and original document filed, personally i wouldnt keep any of it. These are always available to you on Pacer.
      That's what I was thinking -- at least it's on Pacer.
      Filed BK 7 Pro Se: August 2010 341 Meeting: September 2010
      November 2010
      Closed: January 2011!!!


      • #4
        Even though we can go on PACER and print it, I still have a four inch three ring binder with our bk stuff in it. I am holding onto that for when I answer someone's question, I have the book to refer to in case I need to explain why 'this and that' and 'thus and such' was handled in a particular way. Other than that we are gradually weeding out the other supporting items such as the 'Local Rules of Our BK Court'. Something like that is now more than four years old, and if I need new versions to refer to in answering someone's question, I'll go to the Court's website.
        "To go bravely forward is to invite a miracle."

        "Worry is the darkroom where negatives are formed."


        • #5
          Well, some of my old bills are more than 6 years old! And I really don't want those collection agency letters anymore. It was so out of control. Some of my accounts went through four or more collection agencies and it was so confusing. When I go through them I feel really bad, but also so relieved that I'm through with it and done with that!!! Never again will I let myself do that again. I had 16 different credit cards and they all went through different collection agencies, and then the lawsuits and judgments . . . a massive amount of paperwork. When I do decide to get credit cards again, I'll never have more than 2. It was crazy! What was I thinking???!!!
          Filed BK 7 Pro Se: August 2010 341 Meeting: September 2010
          November 2010
          Closed: January 2011!!!


          • #6
            You were thinking, "hey, if they want to keep throwing money my way, why should I say no? Especially with all these 0% balance transfer offers..."
            at least I know I was.

            Keep On Smilin'


            • #7
              Toward the end I just was throwing out my bills because I couldn't stand to have them in my house. Out of sight, out of mind. So if you throw those away I wouldn't think you would need them again. Maybe keep the last one they sent from each as a tiny reminder not to get into that mess again
              Filed 11/17/11 Chapter 13, 341 meeting 12/21/11. Plan confirmed 1/19/12 - DISCHARGED 12/16/15


              • #8
                At least for the first couple years, you should keep a few copies of your discharge and schedule of creditors. Having that information handy helps with credit report clean up and any post discharge hassle with creditors trying to collect a discharge debt.


                • #9
                  Our attorney said to keep everything for a couple of years, just in case something unexpected arises in the future. We plan to keep everything at least for a few years to be safe.


                  • #10
                    i agree, we have kept all of ours. although, i can't wait for the bond fire day to arrival, although, i'm certain which day that's going to be.
                    8/4/2008 MAKE SURE AND VISIT Tobee's Blogs! and all are welcome to bk forum's Florida State Questions and Answers on BK


                    • #11
                      Because I live in a very small space (two tiny rooms for two people), I took everything out of the file cabinet and went through it all. I decided to put some things back in a binder, where I had them before, but it became too bulky). I decided to shred all of the ancient credit card bills and all of dozens of "settlement" offers except for one from Asset Acceptance because I found it unintentionally funny -- across the top it says "Riding The Bailout Bandwagon"! Kind of funny since I owed money to banks who grabbed bailouts and then tried to give their executives huge bonuses -- oops, I digress. I also kept a copy of that letter from a collection agency who tried to get me to give them $20,000 last year -- a year after I filed bk!

                      I did keep the copy of the petition and the lawsuits just to remind myself not to be such an idiot again. I am throwing out the crappy old space-hogging legal-size file cabinet because everytime I look at it I feel like a failure. I'm putting this binder in the back of my closet and hopefully will never have to look at it again, but it's there if I ever get a credit card again so I can remind myself not to go crazy!

                      I really enjoyed my shredding party! It felt like such a relief to get rid of that stuff!

                      I will be keeping a copy of the discharge for the rest of my life!
                      Filed BK 7 Pro Se: August 2010 341 Meeting: September 2010
                      November 2010
                      Closed: January 2011!!!


                      • #12
                        Interesting thread. I have a BK from 2002 and am tired of hanging on to all of the papers from that. I just checked Pacer and I am not able to view those copies online -- probably because back in 2002, they weren't adding that stuff onto the website yet.

                        This summer it will have been 10 years since that BK. After it drops off my credit report, I would love to get rid of these BK documents. I also realize there is a slim chance I could need to view them again in the future, should any issues arise (I can't imagine what). If I ever needed to view them or get copies, would I do that through the courthouse? The attorney who handled my case at the time was elderly and I am sure he is no longer in business so I couldn't get them through him.

                        I just would like to get rid of these papers once and for all. I'm tired of dragging them around and I want to get rid of them for symbolic reasons.


                        • #13
                          Do you have a scanner.... scan it and put it on a flash drive.... that way you still have a copy of everything but without taking up all the space...


                          • #14
                            I was thinking of that too... I just don't like the papers lying around. It bugs me! I want that part of my life over with. I know I can't erase the past, but at least I can get rid of the papers.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by bluemartini View Post
                              If I ever needed to view them or get copies, would I do that through the courthouse?
                              Yes. But, if the files are all paper files that have not been put on microfiche or scanned, it may take some time for the court to pull the records from storage and you may have to pay fees for them to do that. Also, courts have been known to lose files. I'd scan any documents that were actually filed with the court and toss the paper. If I kept any paper at all, it would be a copy of the discharge order.
                              LadyInTheRed is in the black!
                              Filed Chap 13 April 2010. Discharged May 2015.
                              $143,000 in debt discharged for $36,500, including attorneys fees. Money well spent!


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