Monday, April 25, 2011


The question is often asked: "How long should I keep copies of my financial records?" The answer is different depending upon who you are asking, and what type of records you are referring to.
When you are talking about records from the settlement of the purchase of real property in Maryland, the answer is usually going to be "indefinitely."
There are some very good reasons for keeping your records indefinitely.
First, you should keep copies of all of your closing documents at least until you sell the property, at a minimum. Your accountant will thank you and commend you. One cannot accurately calculate basis, gain or loss on the acquisition and sale of real estate unless the purchase records are available. This is similar to the need to maintain records from the purchase of equity securities, bonds and other financial instruments so that you may determine basis and gain/loss.
Secondly, you need to keep your Maryland title insurance policy for as long as you own the property. You will need to be able to locate it in the event that you need to file a claim, just as you would need to locate any other insurance policy in the event of a loss. Furthermore, if you have your closing documents and you refinance your loan, you will be able to get a lower rate on the new lender's policy, known as a "re-issue rate." Your original Maryland title insurance policy is required to get the lower rate on the next transaction.
So, make copies, and buy a filing cabinet!

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