What is a 'Countersignature'

A countersignature is an additional signature added to a document that has already been signed. The countersignature is provided as confirmation or authentication. In most cases, countersignatures are provided by an official or professional, such as a doctor or attorney. This is done to certify that the action or provisions in the document have been approved by both the signer and the other pertinent party. When two parties sign a contract, the first party will sign, then the second party will countersign to confirm their agreement with the contract.

BREAKING DOWN 'Countersignature'

Countersignatures are prevalent in many types of business transactions. Most formal agreements or contracts between two parties will have two signatures on them. The first party reads the document and signs it if they agree to the terms of the agreement, the second party then countersigns the document by providing their signature confirming their agreement with the terms of the contract. Countersignatures are required on many different types of documents. Some countries require countersignatures on passports. Many types of domestic health and legal documents require countersignatures as well. Mortgage paperwork often requires countersignatures in various situations.

Example of a Countersignature

For example, if XYZ Company wishes to purchase 1,000 widgets from ABC Widget & Co. there might be a written contract detailing the method of delivery and any maintenance package offered by ABC Widget & Co. to help their client maintain their widgets throughout their useful life. After the contract is drawn up, a representative from XYZ Company would sign it. After XYZ Company's representative signs the document, the representative from ABC Widget & Co. would then countersign the document, sealing the deal.

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