We strongly recommend submitting the original questioned document to our laboratory for examination, if at all possible. Wills on file with the court will frequently require a court order to be examined. If not, the opinion will be qualified. Regarding exemplars, please note the following:

Questioned Signature or Initials:

We will need to see at least 12 to 15 normal course of business exemplars of signatures or initials (as required by the case) dated as close in time as possible to the questioned document(s). Originals are preferred but good copies are acceptable. It is better to submit more than requested rather than too few in order to establish a range of variation.

Handwriting Questions:

For questions involving anonymous notes, or determining the authorship of an entry on a contract or an interlineation on a will, it is necessary to have a sufficient quantity of handwriting that is comparable in style and letter combinations. For example, if the questioned entry is printed, then the exemplars must demonstrate the style of handprinting. If the questioned entry is cursive, the exemplars must also be in cursive. In all cases, there must be enough examples of words and letter combinations similar to what is found in the questioned document in order to do a meaningful examination. Rile & Hicks uses the recommended terminology of the American Society for Testing and Materials in expressing opinions resulting from handwriting examinations. The ASTM Standard uses a 9-point scale, ranging from Identification to Elimination. The scale is copyright protected. For more information, please visit the ASTM site discussing this scale at www.astm.org/Standards/E1658.htm.

Download our Guidelines for Exemplars/101 Sources here

Medical Records, Sign-In Sheets, Sweep Sheets, Calendars, Journals, or Diaries

The original documents for these types of questions must be produced in our office. For medical records, the entire chart must be produced, not just the page or pages in question. For sign-in sheets or sweep sheets, the questioned sheet as well as several sheets several days before and after should be submitted. Questions involving when entries were made in calendars or journals also require the original documents.