9.6 Closing Files - File Stripping
In general, original documents (e.g., signed agreements, real property reports) should be returned to the client (with a copy, as appropriate, made for your records). These documents should be accompanied with a letter to the client indicating that the file is being closed, clearly setting out what the enclosed documents are, any statutory obligations the client has to retain them, and advising the client as to when the balance of the file will be destroyed. You should also advise the client of the cost of retrieving the file from storage and that they will be responsible for this cost if they ask to have it retrieved.
Consider stripping out those documents that can be obtained from public offices (e.g., the court, the Land Titles Office) but also consider the public offices’ own retention periods and the cost and timeline associated with obtaining replacements if necessary.
This File Stripping Example provides an example of one possible acceptable file stripping method, but remember that details of any particular case may make this example inappropriate.