What Is a Document Receipt?

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  • Written By: Renee Booker
  • Edited By: E. E. Hubbard
  • Last Modified Date: 09 November 2019
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Often when a document is tendered to someone, the person tendering the document has a need to keep a record of the exchange or a need to secure proof that the document was given to the recipient. For these reasons, as well as others, a document receipt is often created and required to be signed by the recipient. Although there is no standard form for a document receipt, most include the name of the document, the date and time tendered to the recipient, and the signature of the person who accepted receipt of the document.

While there are other methods for assuring or proving that a document was received, such as sending the document certified or registered mail, in some cases, those methods are not practical or preferred. In the absence of a formal signatory card or receipt, such as the return receipt for a certified letter or package, a document receipt may be used. For example, if a private courier service is used or a document is hand-delivered, there may be not proof of delivery absent a document receipt.


The use of a document receipt is most often used for legal documents; however, a document receipt may be used for any type of document. In the legal field, a last-minute change to a document may need to be delivered to a client, or an emergency motion filed with a court without the luxury of waiting for a traditional mail service. Often, even overnight mail will not get the document to its destination on time. Consequently, a private courier service may be used or the document delivered in person. A record of the delivery may be needed in the event of a dispute over receipt at a later date.

The real estate industry is another area where a document receipt may be frequently used. Offers to purchase are generally time sensitive. Although an offer may be faxed over to a seller, if the offer is accepted, the parties typically want an original, signed copy as soon as possible, which calls for the need to use an expedited method of delivery, such as a private courier service. Proof of receipt is then accomplished by using a document receipt.

A document receipt can be elaborate or as simple as the party using it desires. As a rule, it will contain the name and a brief description of the document being delivered, the number of pages, the date and time, and will have a space for the name and signature of the person who accepts receipt of the document. Not only does the receipt serve as a record for the person who tendered the document, but it may also be required in the event that there is a dispute or litigation in the future surrounding when, or even if, the document was received.


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