How long to keep deceased's paperwork?

Hi, in reality, how long should I keep a deceased person's paperwork?  I'm referring mainly to old bank statements and also tax papers from HMRC.  This paperwork belonged to my deceased parents, one who died 13 years ago and one who died 18 months ago.  Both HMRC and all banks were informed of their deaths at the time.  There are boxes piled up everywhere full of this paperwork and I feel like I'm drowning in it.  

Comments

  • castle96
    castle96 Posts: 2,875
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    I think that HMRC can come back to you at ANY time, though "others"/you have 6 years. Thin it all down and keep the essentials
  • Keep_pedalling
    Keep_pedalling Posts: 16,193
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    No need to hold on to any of the 13+ year old paperwork. It is unlikely that you will have to go back to the more recent paperwork, but I would hold  on to anything under 6 years old just in case or make some digital copies before spreading them.
  • Runner_Duck
    Runner_Duck Posts: 22
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    For IHT I was assuming 7 years until I read this on gov.uk

    Records

    You must keep certain records after you value an estate.

    HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) can ask to see your records up to 20 years after Inheritance Tax is paid.

    You must keep copies of any:

    • will
    • copies of signed Inheritance Tax forms and supporting documents
    • records showing how you worked out the value of assets in the estate, for example an estate agent’s valuation
    • documents showing any unused Inheritance Tax threshold that can be transferred to a surviving spouse or civil partner
    • final accounts
    Full details here 
    How to value an estate for Inheritance Tax and report its value: Records - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) 


  • bobster2
    bobster2 Posts: 442
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    For IHT I was assuming 7 years until I read this on gov.uk

    Records

    You must keep certain records after you value an estate.

    HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) can ask to see your records up to 20 years after Inheritance Tax is paid.

    You must keep copies of any:

    • will
    • copies of signed Inheritance Tax forms and supporting documents
    • records showing how you worked out the value of assets in the estate, for example an estate agent’s valuation
    • documents showing any unused Inheritance Tax threshold that can be transferred to a surviving spouse or civil partner
    • final accounts
    Full details here 
    How to value an estate for Inheritance Tax and report its value: Records - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) 



    Crikey! But why the obligation to keep the signed IHT forms? Surely they were submitted to HMRC so can't they be relied on to retain these??

  • poppystar
    poppystar Posts: 1,255
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    edited 10 January at 1:10PM
    bobster2 said:
    For IHT I was assuming 7 years until I read this on gov.uk

    Records

    You must keep certain records after you value an estate.

    HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) can ask to see your records up to 20 years after Inheritance Tax is paid.

    You must keep copies of any:

    • will
    • copies of signed Inheritance Tax forms and supporting documents
    • records showing how you worked out the value of assets in the estate, for example an estate agent’s valuation
    • documents showing any unused Inheritance Tax threshold that can be transferred to a surviving spouse or civil partner
    • final accounts
    Full details here 
    How to value an estate for Inheritance Tax and report its value: Records - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) 



    Crikey! But why the obligation to keep the signed IHT forms? Surely they were submitted to HMRC so can't they be relied on to retain these??

    How many executors even live that long after?! I’ve had a huge cull of papers relating to my late parent’s executorship of their sibling’s estate figuring ten years would be long enough - oops! 
  • IreneMot
    IreneMot Posts: 44
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    For IHT I was assuming 7 years until I read this on gov.uk

    Records

    You must keep certain records after you value an estate.

    HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) can ask to see your records up to 20 years after Inheritance Tax is paid.

    You must keep copies of any:

    • will
    • copies of signed Inheritance Tax forms and supporting documents
    • records showing how you worked out the value of assets in the estate, for example an estate agent’s valuation
    • documents showing any unused Inheritance Tax threshold that can be transferred to a surviving spouse or civil partner
    • final accounts
    Full details here 
    How to value an estate for Inheritance Tax and report its value: Records - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) 


    To me this sounds like you don't need the very old stuff, just the essentials from around the time of death to when it all ended, e.g. the final accounts. I would personally keep 7 years worth of the paperwork and then thin every year or couple of years. 
  • user1977
    user1977 Posts: 13,318
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    edited 10 January at 6:13PM
    I can see it being potentially relevant if there's a consequence for a survivor's estate (which might be long after the first death), but otherwise it would seem bizarre for HMRC to be asking questions long after everything it settled.

    "Paperwork" can just be scanned copies if you want to save space.
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