Sunday, August 15, 2010

Document Storage - What to Do with Important Papers

Recently I worked with a client who was clearing out a storage unit that contained more than 20 years worth of medical records as well as important business and tax documents.  Whether you are dealing with your personal tax records and important papers, the estate of a loved one, or the documents accumulated when running a business of any size, having a document storage plan is a good idea.

Getting a handle on what to do with your important papers is no small feat - even for the well-organized. Cost of storage, document destruction, scanning to electronic files and document retrieval are all things to take into consideration as part of the storage plan. In many situations, it's important to know what the legal requirements are for retaining records too. For instance, if dealing with patient files, there are specific HIPAA regulations that are required for document destruction, storage and certification to maintain patient privacy.  Tax files for individuals, estates and small business all have requirements for the length of time you're required to keep your records.

Here are a few links you may find useful when you begin your document storage plan - whether you decide you need a commercial storage facility,  a security deposit box or a company to shred, recycle or scan your paper documents to e-files:
  • HIPPA Privacy and Security Rules - Learn more about which entities must comply with the Privacy and Security Rules, the requirements of the rules, and guidance available to help covered entities implement and maintain compliance with these requirements.
  • IRS Publication 552 Record Keeping for Individuals 
  • Pouch Records Managment
  • Pouch is one of the many companies that offers a variety of services to individuals as well as businesses large and small.  They've got a full line of available services for document storage and retrieval, and are located in Southern California (Fullerton).  Overall, I would recommend them as an effective (and affordable) document storage sollution.  I would however add a note of caution: Be sure to review ala carte service charges. They can add up quickly if you are unprepared!