Legal-Ease: Copies or originals

Lee R. Schroeder is an Ohio licensed attorney with Schroeder Law LLC in Ottawa. He limits his practice to business, real estate, estate planning and agriculture issues in northwest Ohio. He can be reached at or at (419) 523-5523. This article is not intended to serve as legal advice, and specific advice should be sought from the licensed attorney of your choice based upon the specific facts and circumstances that you face.

A common question is whether an original is needed or if a copy will suffice for legal needs. Documents that are actually signed are considered to be the originals, and reproduced representations of the originals are referred to as copies. Generally in Ohio, a copy of a document is considered to be as good as the original.

One of the most frequent questions I get is whether a photocopy of a document is as good as an original. Conversely, clients often are very proud to present me with “the original” version of a document, with the impression that the original is “extra enforceable.”

Documents that are signed with ink flowing from the pens of the signers are usually called “originals.” Any mechanically reproduced image or representation of the original is usually called a “copy.”

Read more about the differences between originals and copies in Lee’s post in the Lima News here: Legal-Ease: Copies or originals

Source:, “Legal-Ease: Copies or originals,” by Lee R. Schroeder, February 14, 2015

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