How Long Do You Keep Business Bankruptcy Documents?


During the bankruptcy process, there is a wealth of paperwork, including your own documentation of debts and assets, along with the paperwork that your attorney will file in bankruptcy court. While keeping business documents is important, keeping your petition and discharge paperwork is more important. How long do you keep these documents? .

Business Records

  • During the bankruptcy filing process, you likely furnished your attorney with all of your business paperwork, including assets and liabilities. Some you should keep indefinitely, according to Those include corporation documents, deeds, stock records, pension or retirement documents and any court papers. Some records, such as invoices, billing statements and payroll records only need to be kept six years. Monthly and quarterly bank statements only need to be kept three years. It’s also a good idea to have a backup.

Knowing What's On File

  • Two of the most important pieces of paperwork to keep are the bankruptcy petition and your discharge paper. The petition is lengthy, but it contains the listing of every creditor involved in the bankruptcy filing. Make sure your copy of the petition includes any amendments. The discharge paper is important because it’s your proof that the court discharged your case. recommends keeping these documents for the rest of your life.

Zombie Debt

  • This is when one of your creditors sells your discharged debt to another company, usually for pennies on the dollar. The new company then attempts to collect that debt, despite the fact that it’s been discharged. If this happens, you’ll likely get a collection letter from the new company that holds the debt. Chances are, they are unaware that the debt was discharged in a bankruptcy. If this happens, pull out your petition and compare it to your list of creditors. Mail a copy of the discharge, creditor listing and keep proof that you mailed that to the new creditor. And make sure it doesn’t pop up on your credit report.

Refinancing or Acquiring New Debt

  • reports that those who attempt to refinance a home or acquire a home loan can run into a roadblock during the application process. Many times the mortgage broker will want to see which debts were discharged in the bankruptcy. There is no real reason to do so, since what appears in the petition paperwork is what appears on the credit report for a period of seven to 10 years. But many brokers ask for it anyway.

Credit Scores

  • Keeping a copy of the petition is a great way to keep your credit clean after bankruptcy. While bankruptcy wipes out your obligation to pay the debt, the debts are actually listed on your credit report for 7 to 10 years. By checking your credit report regularly, you can make sure debt that does not belong to you is not popping up on your report. Plus, it’s a good idea to check six months before making a major purchase so errors may be disputed.


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