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LAShredding Service on Retention Guidelines for Documents

by rubybadcoe

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You may need to free up storage space at home or in the office, but don’t be in a hurry to shred your files and documents. The law may require you to hold onto these files for a little longer due to a number of reasons, like supporting investigations or evidence. You need to let the retention period expire before calling in Los Angeles shredding services.

Simply put, the retention period states how long the document should remain intact. Most documents only have a retention period of four years, but medical records related to toxic exposure can last up to ten times longer. Laws like the Sarbanes-Oxley Act set the standard retention periods for a number of documents, though there are some files that cannot be deleted—ever.

Permanent Retention

In other words, there are some documents that cannot be deleted at all (state laws may vary, so check with your local government first). Have you ever wondered why patents that date back to the start of the 20th century can still be found in Google Patent Search? Patents are among the few files and documents that must be retained permanently.

Other documents that must be kept permanently include articles of incorporation, contracts, financial reports, minutes of meetings, and auditors’ reports. Under federal law, shredders aren’t allowed to destroy them without establishing backup copies (primarily electronic ones). Patent records and all the other abovementioned documents need to be preserved for future reference.

Usefulness over Time

Will the documents still prove to be useful in the future or will they be just as outdated as old software and applications? Permanent retention documents will always be relevant, even when the patented invention has become an ancient relic. But checks and time cards are only valid for a limited time before they become irrelevant in the future. If the documents have outlived their usefulness, it’s only appropriate for shredding in Los Angeles to step in and destroy them.

You can find out more about retention periods of files and documents at the official website of the Association of Records Managers and Administrators at Also, read up on state and federal laws for differences in retention periods per area.


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