What is a Conformed Copy?

Malcolm Tatum

Conformed copies are exact copies of a document that is prepared when it is not possible to simply duplicate a copy of the original document. Essentially, this makes the conformed copy a re-creation of the original. In order to be this type of copy, the document must include all the elements of the original, with no changes in wording or structure, no matter how small or insignificant the changes may appear.

A judge may sign a conformed copy if her signature is on the original document.
A judge may sign a conformed copy if her signature is on the original document.

A conformed copy can be used in a number of instances. Court systems allow the use of such documents, and often use them for filing purposes. When this is the case, the copy is typed and constructed exactly as the original. In addition, any notations handwritten in the margins will also be included on the document. A court clerk will compare the copy to the original to ensure that all aspects of the two documents are alike, including any dates. If a judge’s signature appears on the original, the judge may sign the conformed copy as well or the judge’s name may be typed and dated into the appropriate fields. Once the comparison is complete and the clerk determines the documents are mirrors of one another, the copy is stamped and assigned a filing date.

Businesses also make use of this format. This is often the case when multiple departments need access to contracts and other important documents. The original signed documents are usually maintained in a secure location, while a conformed copy or copies are made available for general use among the different departments within the organization. This approach ensures there is always a copy of the original signed document on hand, but allows widespread access to the terms and conditions of a given document to those who need this information to assist clients or otherwise perform their work-related tasks.

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The same individual who served as the signatory on the original document may sign a conformed copy. If this is not possible or practical, the individual’s name may be entered into the signature field. In like manner, it is possible to certify or notarize a conformed copy. However, this action is usually considered unnecessary.

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Discussion Comments


In some cases, a conformed copy of a document, like a birth certificate or marriage certificate, for example, may have to be obtained if the original is lost or destroyed.

People who move away from their home state and don't have an original copy of their birth certificate may need to contact the town or county they were born in to get an official copy to apply for a drivers license, passport and other things that require proof of residency.

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