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G. Recordkeeping

  • Adopt a written records policy that governs how and when organization and transaction records are created, collected, retained, stored and destroyed.
  • Keep originals of all documents essential to the defense of each real property transaction in a secure manner and protected from damage or loss.
  • Create and keep copies of these documents in a manner such that both originals and copies are not destroyed in a single calamity.


A land trust should prepare and maintain complete written documentation of transactions. It needs to have two sets of documents: (1) documents that are accessible and can be used for monitoring or as problems and issues arise (“working” files); and (2) documents that are safely stored in a way that ensures that they will last and be acceptable evidence in the event of a court proceeding (“permanent” files). Originals of important documents (such as legal agreements, critical correspondence, baseline documents or one-of-a-kind studies) that are part of the permanent file should be kept in a secure place, such as a safe-deposit box or fireproof file cabinet. For additional protection, working files should be kept in one location and permanent files should be kept at a separate location. As with financial records, land trusts should consider creating electronic backups of all transaction-related files for off-site storage.