How Long Does an Agent Under a Power of Attorney Need to Keep Financial Documents?
August 5th, 2016
As an agent under a power of attorney, how far back do I have to keep documentation for accounting purposes? I have been my mother's agent since 2004. My mother is in a nursing home and has enough assets to pay for her care with her private funds for at least a few more years. Because of the five-year Medicaid look-back period, I have been discarding all records that go beyond five years and have been doing so on a monthly basis. Do I need to hold onto everything, no matter how old it is, just in case of an audit (for example, at the request of my siblings) or is five years of recordkeeping sufficient?
There is no hard and fast answer to your question. For tax purposes, people often recommend keeping seven years of records. For Medicaid purposes five years is enough, as you are doing. In terms of your siblings, it would be best to ask them. These days most of the information is available online, so you shouldn't need to save more than seven years of records -- and five years should be fine. If your siblings want more, perhaps you could send the statements that are more than five years old to them to review before they discard them if they choose.
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