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Attested Copy and Certified Copy: What’s the Difference

AttestvsCertify   Though the phrases “certifying a copy” and “attesting a copy” are sometimes used synonymously, a certified copy and an attested copy are actually two very different things. Confused yet? Yeah, so were we! A certified copy is an official copy of a public or vital record, usually held by the clerk of court, which must be made and certified by the official custodian of the document. These documents include birth certificates, death certificates and marriage and divorce records. Even though some notaries public are authorized to “certify copies,” this does not mean that they are allowed to produce certified copies of official records. In Florida, notaries public can, on the other hand, make an attested copy. An attested copy is made by a notary public from an original document. Some key things to remember about attested copies:
  • In Florida, an attested copy cannot be made from anything but an original document (NEVER attest to the copy of a copy).
  • An attested copy cannot be made from an officially certified copy. If a person wishes to secure an additional copy of the public or vital record, they must obtain a new certified copy of the original document from the document’s official custodian.
  • Attested copies cannot be made from school records, particularly transcripts. School records are specifically under the authority of the school’s registrar. If a person wishes to receive a copy of these records, they should contact the registrar directly.
It is important to know which documents can have “attested copies” made from them and which documents cannot. We highly recommend looking up your state’s specific document regulations for this notarial act. The most important thing to take away from this is: though your state may authorize you to “certify copies,” you are not able to do so with documents that must legally be copy-certified by the official custodian of the document.