Document Preservation for Legal Purposes

Running an organization or a business isn’t easy. You have to worry about what seems like millions of details. Companies have to make sales, meet payrolls and ensure that everything in the office is running smoothly. That generates a lot of paperwork, but it’s important to have these documents for a lot of reasons. Sometimes it’s more than a good idea to hold onto documents. There are some documents that you’re under a legal obligation to keep. If you have issues connected to organizing, preserving, or destroying your documents, Storage Quarters can help, and we want you to know about document preservation for legal purposes.  

Why You Need to Preserve Some Documents

There are some documents that all businesses know they must keep and preserve in order to comply with tax laws. According to the IRS, the types of documents you need to keep include:

·              Income receipts for your business, such as cash register tapes, deposit information, receipt books, and invoices.

·              Purchase records such as canceled checks, invoices and credit card receipts.

·              Proof of company expenses you’ve incurred.

·              Account statements and bills.

·              Records of travel, transportation, entertainment and gift expenses.

·              A list of assets in order to keep track of annual depreciation.

But tax records aren’t the only documents a business may be required to keep for legal purposes, and this involves an area that’s much more difficult to predict. You may be required to preserve documents related to pending litigation. The difficulty arises over knowing when it’s OK to destroy documents and when documents need to be preserved under the law. You should always check with your legal advisors for the ultimate answer to those questions and any legal advice, but you should also be aware that the rules of civil procedure create guidelines on preserving documents.

According to FindLaw, it’s case law that tends to define the duty preserve documents. It appears one of the most difficult questions is understanding at what point in time does a duty to preserve documents arise. As a very general rule, the duty to preserve electronically stored information appears to arise when a potential party to a case reasonably forces that it may be relevant to future litigation.

Creating a Document Preservation Policy

The Association of Corporate Counsel recommends creating a document retention policy which can set rules for how your organization manages documents. You can assign a point person or a committee to create the policy. The first step is determining the scope of the project and what your priorities are. To do this, you need to talk to your personnel and also pinpoint where your organization produces documents. Your point person or committee needs to understand the law and create ways to organize documents, determining what needs to be saved and what can be safely destroyed and when. Then, it’s time to make certain all employees know the protocol involved with preserving and destroying documents.

Storage Quarters Can Help You Get Control of Your Documents

If you’re concerned about getting a handle on all of your documents, Storage Quarters can be an invaluable resource. We offer a variety of services including document scanning and barcoding, so you will know exactly how to retrieve a document when you need it. We also offer safe document shredding services that allow your documents to be destroyed in a secure environment. And we’ll always provide you with a Certificate of Destruction of what we’ve destroyed. To learn more, contact Storage Quarters today.