certified copy

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Certified copy is a duplicate of a primary document that is endorsed by a governmental or independent agency to guarantee its authenticity. If the primary document is  not legitimate, however, the certified copy cannot be used to guarantee if it's genuine. Certified copies may be required in many different circumstances from governmental to commercial. It avoids the potential of the true document from being damaged or stolen. 

Contrary to a notary public, a certified copy is not notarized; a certified copy is also cheaper than obtaining a notarized document. A certified copy, for example, is used to present death certificates to banks in order to obtain the deceased person’s funds.

[Last updated in June of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team]