How Long Do I Need to Keep Professional Records?

We’ve all seen it somewhere: the wall of cubbies behind the receptionist stuffed with manilla envelopes themselves crammed with important paperwork. While you might see this eyesore of a filing system in medical, a version of it probably exists at any business wherever meticulous records regarding each patient or client are kept.

In most cases, keeping patient or client records is required for a certain number of years in New York – are you aware of your obligations? Read on to learn how long you should keep professional records and how digitizing them can liberate your office space and peace of mind!

Doctors, Dentists & Other Medical Care Providers

Medical care providers are required to hold on to their records of adult patients for at least six years. When patients are children younger than 18 years old, doctors are required to hold on to their records one year after their 18th birthday.

While not directly related to how long doctors need to hold on to their patients’ records, it’s worth mentioning that a patient’s medical records can be requested at any time. New York law forbids a “search and retrieval” fee for obtaining records for patients, but physicians and institutions – like hospitals – can charge postage and no more than 75 cents per page for copies of medical records.


Spring cleaning doesn’t come easy to most attorneys, who can end up keeping records the longest in some cases. Their bookkeeping records (billing, retainer and compensation agreements, bank statements, etc.) can’t be relieved for seven years, which is pretty typical for businesses across the board and common sense for many households.

However, matter-specific client files could be kept indefinitely. Some situations are obvious, such as when an attorney holds a client’s will or trust agreement (these may not be needed for decades). In another situation, a lawyer may need to indefinitely retain documents involving a client who was convicted and challenging the conviction through the appeal process.

The bottom line is that lawyers may be required to hold on to certain documents for a required amount of time or when it may be common sense. Part of the latter may mean wanting to keep documents on-hand in case the attorney is challenged by a malpractice claim down the line.

Real Estate Agents

Licensed real estate agents are required by New York law to keep paper and/or electronic records of each transaction for at least three years. The criteria of these records should include names and addresses of buyers and sellers, the broker-prepared contract, broker’s commission, and other such information.

Insurance Agents and Brokers

If you’re an insurance agent or own an insurance brokerage firm, you’re required to retain information about an insurance contract or policy for no less than six calendar years after the policy was concluded. Likewise, files regarding insurance claims are required to be kept for the same amount of time after a claim was resolved.

Digitize & Store Your Documents with Acro Photo Print Inc.

Whether you’re bound by law or not, taking steps toward keeping your business’ records safe and on-hand is always a smart move. At Acro Photo Print Inc., we provide businesses like yours the service and convenience you need when it comes to scanning and storing files.

If you want to free up office clutter and dispose of those banker boxes filled with files in the closet, our services can let you keep all of the information in them in electronic storage for future reference or safekeeping. Our high-quality scanning process can help you part with inactive paper files with the peace of mind knowing that you can always turn to a digital version for reference.

To learn more about our scanning and storage options, contact Acro Photo Print Inc. online or call (929) 244-4322 today!