How Long Should You Keep Bankruptcy Discharge Papers

How Long Should You Keep Bankruptcy Discharge Papers?

In this article, we’ll go over the important topic of “How Long Should You Keep Bankruptcy Discharge Papers?

Although it’s considered a digital era, safekeeping all the records are vital in any form, either on paper or computerized. Since birth, we have undergone a lot of documentation, starting with the record of our birth. And that perhaps is the most important record to be kept. With age, other documents become essential, and a lot of paper is considered junk. 

One such document which, if in your life you ever come across bankruptcy, then are the documents and the discharge documents. But in this era of computers, how long should you be holding onto the papers. If asked us, either you like it or not, we would advise you to treat this document with great importance than any other. 

How Long Should You Keep Bankruptcy Discharge Papers?

In case of bankruptcy, it is always debatable how long should one be keeping the documents safe? Some say it to keep it for ages, and some say there is absolutely no need. We want to state some examples of vital records and the right way to keep them. 

When you buy or own something, and it comes with a warranty document. We often tend to keep the documents until the warranty period. Post which, there is no importance of the document. Similarly, for receipts, as you may want to keep it safe if you need to return the product within the return period. 

If you are a taxpayer, you must have the tax receipt and other supporting documents for seven years, at least. You may need them even later, so it’s a good practice to keep it safe. Since it’s all paperless, you can also save a soft copy in the electronic form, but it’s essential to keep the document. 

Let us now come to bankruptcy documents. Agree with it or not, these are perhaps the most important documents that one should be keeping. There are many procedures where the state may need a solid trust before handing over any agreement, for example, any license.

Your bankruptcy discharge documents will be required the most at that moment.

1. Why keep the documents safe?

When you go through bankruptcy, you get involved with a lot of creditors and third-party vendors. In the future, even after you receive your discharge documents, many creditors may return and demand the debt which was involved in the bankruptcy. 

When you produce these documents and prove that it was a part of chapter 7 and chapter 13 and that the property, they are trying to collect does not belong to you anymore. 

In certain states and countries, you must produce your bankruptcy discharge documents to receive a professional license. Having kept the records safe will save you a lot of harassment and time. 

2. Which documents to keep?

We would say all the documents are essential. There might come uncertain times when you never know which document will you need. And at the moment, if you lack any documents, according to a few experiences, it takes ages to correct the document from the lawyer, and the federal court is both time-consuming and costly. Why not keep a copy of all the documents in your archive during the hearing of the case. 

Below is the list of documents that you may want to keep- 

  • There are counseling sessions both before filing a bankruptcy case and discharge of the case. Both the documents/certificates are essential.
  • The details of creditors involved in the case and their mailing list.
  • Social Security document and income document that was disclosed while filing the petition.
  • The petition was filed in bankruptcy, the schedules, and exhibits.
  • The statements, declarations, and disclosures that were made during the file petition.
  • The legal notice which you will receive from the bankruptcy court, from the lawyer and other trustees. 
  • The final and perhaps the most crucial document is the final bankruptcy discharge document.

Difference between bankruptcy file date vs. discharge date

If you ever go through the entire bankruptcy process, you will know the different dates you need to remember. The most important date for many debtors is the date the case was filed. Once the lawsuit is filed, the bankruptcy stay order comes into play, when no creditor can ask or collect for his debt. 

The discharge date is when all the qualified debts are paid off to the creditors or wiped away officially in the federal court. 


In our honest opinion, it is essential to safe keep all the documents involving the bankruptcy case. And if you are part of Chapter 13, it is difficult to get a discharge if all your payments are cleared. It can take as long as three to five years. And during this period, you should prepare your archive of documents. These documents are perhaps as important as the house deed, your life insurance documents, etc. 


Here is a quick video that explains in more detail How Long Should You Keep Bankruptcy Discharge Papers for.

Discolsure: I am not a financial expert and it is highly recommended that you seek out a professional before making any financial decisions. Articles are informational and for educational purposes only.

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