Retention Period for Legal Files
Document retention is the process you have in place to organize, store, and (securely) destroy your practice files. These can include client records, trust account documents, records of the assets you are protecting, and business documents. Facilities typically index documentary assets and track documents to facilitate their retrieval once retention periods have expired. Morgan Stanley learned the hard way the importance of good record keeping, but retention is a double-edged sword. A records retention program involves the systematic storage, tracking, and destruction of business documents and records. An electronic document management system (DMS) provides version control, remote retrieval, OCR and indexing, making it easier for organizations to track record retention and retrieve documents remotely. HIPAA is a primary focus in medical communities and has specific dwell times. Finally, you must consider the limitation period or other deadlines to which your client is subject for his legal problem in order to keep the client file sufficient to cover the client`s future needs. For example, if you are helping a client get the marriage with children dissolved, you may want to keep the record until the children are at least 18 years old in case you are contacted for future parental support or support adjustments. These are the only explicit file retention requirements that WSBA members have under RPC. As with RPC, you can choose a document retention strategy for other records based on the schedule that suits your practice. However, you are still responsible for ensuring that all aspects of your document retention policies (transfer, storage, and destruction) are properly configured to protect customer privacy.4 Document retention policies typically require companies to retain records for one, three, or seven years.
In some cases, you may need to keep the records forever. If you`re not sure what to keep and shred, your accountant, lawyer, and state records agency can give you advice. Financial records, receipts, statistical records and all other records of non-federal entities relevant to a federal allowance must be retained for a period of three years from the date of submission of the final expenditure report or, in the case of federal premiums renewed quarterly or annually, from the date of submission of the quarterly or annual financial report. or, as in the case of a sub-recipient, to the Federal Office of Public Procurement or the public transport agency. Federal registries and intermediary agencies cannot impose additional record-keeping requirements on non-federal organizations. The only exceptions: in many cases, documents are too secure to be recycled or archived. Shredding may be necessary to properly dispose of paper files. Improper destruction of records may result in fines and other penalties set by federal and state laws.
Shred Nations can help you find a shredder contractor that meets all your document retention needs. If you don`t have a document retention system, you risk wasting time and money storing documents you no longer need. You can also shred cases prematurely, which could leave you vulnerable when defending disciplinary action or medical malpractice. For many industries, document retention is critical to business security. Every company should have a retention policy that describes the lifespan of its records, from creation to destruction. New York State has the MU-1 Records Retention and Disposal Schedule, which sets out record retention requirements for all government agencies prior to disposal. Almost any recording you keep can be digitized and converted to digital format. Digital files provide quick access and instant backups for an organization`s entire records archive. It`s important to be careful not to shred or destroy the right data set, but it can also lead to problems. In most cases, each record will eventually exceed its retention period when it becomes important to make sure to clean up the clutter.
The more sensitive records you have stored, the more sensitive information there is to lose. Use the following information to control your document retention policy: For other records, you may retain and destroy records at your discretion. The retention schedule for the records you choose for your practice should (1) take into account all the responsibilities you have under the law (including court orders); (2) seized to defend against claims; and (3) special considerations regarding the nature of your practice and future business opportunities. Every business is required to keep records for a period of time, but the best way to organize and manage this process varies by company and industry. Learn why records retention management is important and how to best track your retention periods. Each state has established retention requirements for medical records. All medical companies should review their state-specific standards. However, here are the retention periods recommended by AHIMA: In addition to federal laws such as HIPAA or SOX, retention periods are also required by the state. As a business owner, you probably have various documents stored such as tax returns, personal folders, and bank statements. Unfortunately, there is no strict retention rule that applies to all types of records, which means you need to categorize your files and create a document retention policy (DRP). Lawyers often wait to evaluate their case management strategies before going through a significant transition period (selling a firm, retiring, etc.).
Ideally, this guide will help you create policies and procedures ahead of time to avoid subsequent brackets. But even if you`re in the middle of a transition and need information on how to manage your customer records, this guide is a good place to start. In addition to improper storage of customer information, they also shredded or destroyed records before required retention periods, resulting in a swift legal penalty for premature disposal. Many states have changed their record-keeping requirements since the introduction of these rules. Depending on the state, lawyers must keep records for six or seven years, but some states are more flexible.