Never Assume Old Papers Are Safe Papers: Shred All Extra Documents after a Loved One Dies

Posted on: 10 September 2015


If you're dealing with the aftermath of a relative's death, you are probaby finding stashes of documents and papers everywhere, especially if the relative was fairly old. Your instinct might be to throw out a lot of the papers, or recycle them, because they're so old that the account numbers couldn't possibly be usable. But don't get complacent about things like that. Technology is at the point where even a little bit of information can be used to create fake documents or to gain access to accounts. Your best bet is to shred everything.

Get Help

Using a document shredding service is best. While you could stand over a personal shredder and feed batches of paper into the shredder, that would take too much time if the relative had a large filing cabinet full of papers. Sometimes people have boxes of old files stashed away in closets and storage units, too, and those can take a lot of time to shred. It's much easier if you can either haul all of the papers over to a shredding company, or arrange for the company to bring out a mobile shredding unit.

These companies have machines that can chew through a bag of paper in a few seconds, turning it into confetti. That is a lot easier on you than having you feed papers in a few at a time.

Don't Get Cocky

Document styles, like check styles, have changed quite a bit. Decades-old checks, for example, don't always have the same information that you would find on a modern check. However, old checks still have signatures, and in the case of women, the checks might have their maiden names. Those two pieces of information could be used by someone unscrupulous to draw up a fake ID.

If you find anything that you truly don't want to destroy for sentimental reasons, such as a cancelled check from a foreign country, at least keep it under lock and key. Don't put the document in a photo album that anyone can see. Ensure it is locked up somewhere where it won't be thrown away accidentally.

If you'd like more information on how to arrange a shredding session with a document destruction company, contact shredding companies near you. The staff will go over the different options available to you and what those options cost. Document shredding is an easy task when you have a professional to do the work for you.