My younger brother wrote a paper about this when he was in law school (he's a government lawyer now).I am a pack rat when it comes to keeping financial statements. I still have tax returns for the 1980s. I plan to eventually get a scanner and start shredding some paper.
Any thoughts on the legality of scanned documents if I were to ever provide proof of those papers? I would still keep a certain amount of history in paper format, but also have a scanned version for back up.
My understanding is that scanned documents fall under something called the "best evidence" doctrine. If you present a scanned document as evidence, and there is no better evidence to refute it, it is acceptable.
Most financial institutions, including the one I work for, do not retain original documents for most purposes. They are scanned, shredded, then recycled.