It is a document that is used as an oath to testify that the individual is telling the truth. This document is often used for various reasons, including an attestation of birth, death, residential location, and address, to mention a few.
Usually, affidavits are signed under the supervision of a notary public, attorney, court clerk, or any other person allowed to administer oaths. Upon signing, it then becomes legally binding.
An affidavit is a legal document written voluntarily to give out facts about someone, something, or process.
Depending on the region or state you come from, an affidavit form can have several referral names. The following are just but some of the reference names are:
- Affidavit letter
- Sworn statement
- Statement under oath
- Sworn affidavit
- Notarized statement
- Affidavit form
Types of Affidavit
Generally, most courts, government agencies, or related institutions may require you to draft a general affidavit. However, there are some cases where a more specific affidavit may be required. With that in mind, you need to know the types of the affidavit that exists. It will help you maneuver your way easily should you be requested to produce them.
Below are some common types of affidavits you need to know:
Affidavit of heirship
Affidavit of heirship is used to establish a formal and legal procedure of inheritance in cases where the deceased didn’t leave a will behind. On many occasions, this affidavit is common when performing estate planning.
Affidavit of domicile
This type of affidavit is used to establish the place, location, or state of residence of a stockholder after their demise. Unlike most affidavits, this type of affidavit is often state-specific.
Affidavit of identity
An affidavit of identity is used to verify the signee’s identity or signature. Usually, the person will be requested to provide his personal and identifiable information such as the legal name, date of birth, and official home address.
Affidavit of gift
This affidavit is often used to provide proof that an item is gifted to another person and that no payment was needed in return. That is to say, the nature of the donation was willingly, and no repayment commitments were made.
Affidavit of residence
This affidavit is used to verify an individual’s official residence. It is often requested when undertaking certain procedures such as visa application, certain jobs, and as a surety of bond.
General affidavits are any other legal document that is used to confirm the facts or truthful information about someone or something. It can be tailored as per an individual’s requirement.
A financial affidavit helps provide the financial details of an individual. This type of affidavit can be requested by courts, banks, or any other financial institution to make decisive decisions based on the person’s financial status.
Affidavit of death
Affidavit of death is used to swear that a person has indeed died. It is written by a third party that is aware of the person’s death, the cause of death, and, if possible, the date.
Affidavit of service
This type of affidavit is used to attest that someone has received a certain service. This affidavit will describe the type of service rendered or received, the date, and any other documentation necessary.
Affidavit of marriage
Affidavit of marriage is used to affirm that an individual is legally married to their spouse on a specific date. These affidavits can be used in place of marriage certificates.
Affidavit of divorce
Affidavits of divorce are legal documents where both spouses attest their willingness to call off their marriage. More often, the courts will request both the parties to file another affidavit of finance so as to decide on the divorce proceeding.
Affidavit of sweepstakes recipients
If you have never participated in sweepstakes, then you probably need to know that an affidavit is a must when claiming your winning victory. An affidavit is often required to verify that the person claiming the award is eligible. This helps prevent fraudulence associated with a false identity.
Some of the information verified on the affidavit of sweepstakes recipients include;
- The information given in the sweepstake
- The legality of your participation in the sweepstake contest.
- Whether you were eligible for the sweepstake award.
- If you agree to the terms and conditions of the award. Note that
Major Components of an Affidavit
Since affidavits are legal documents, there are certain factors you must include in your affidavit to make them effective.
Commencement simply refers to the person who is verifying the facts or swearing that the information contained in an affidavit is true. The commencement can also be referred to as affiant.
An attestation is a clause located at the end of affidavit form and affirms the location, parties, notary’s involvement and date of signing. The attestation can also be referred to as jurant.
Signature is the acknowledgment that the parties mentioned are aware of the contents as per the best of their knowledge. Legally, the signature of both the author and witnesses should be made in front of a notary public, lawyer, or court officials.
Crafting an Affidavit
Many people find affidavits a difficult document to write due to their legality. In essence, there are various rules you must adhere to while creating one. For instance, you need to observe formal formatting styles and language. Alongside the formatting, here are other guides that will ensure your affidavit is written professionally.
The steps of affidavit writing are described as;
Identify the type of affidavit
First, you need to determine the type of affidavit you are writing. Ask yourself whether it’s for personal use or legal use. This step is very crucial as it dictates your next step of writing.
Write the title of the affidavit
Once you have identified the type of affidavit you want, you need to come up with the right title or proposal. Your topic or proposal should be concise, brief, and direct to the point. Also, you need to remember to add the names and addresses of the person issuing testimony. For instance, ‘An Affidavit of Steven Johnson.’
Provide details of involving parties
Here you will indicate the names and addresses of all the persons associated with the affidavit. In case you can’t remember the address, be sure to include all the personal information you can remember.
Write the truth statement
Start up your affidavit by writing the truth statement. In this section, you will swear that whatever you are saying are facts and accurate to the best of your knowledge. A statement of truth is often similar to an oath made in courtroom.
Usually, the truth of the statement is written in the first person. For example, you can have it written as “I saw John with a red saloon car.” When “I” statements are used, it reassures the readers that the information contained in the document is a true recording of the events.
State the facts
In this section, you will list down all the facts that you know. Usually, this section is the longest in an affidavit. However, you need to note that the length of this section will depend on your recorded facts. Also, remember to keep the admitted truths as detailed as possible. If in any case the affiant provides deceitful information, they risk being charged with crime of perjury. However, if you provide truthful information, you will have nothing to worry about.
Attach the supporting documents
Preferably, you should always attach any document that can prove your facts. If you don’t have any documents to attach, you can feel free to ignore this part. But if you have provable documents to support your facts, you can label them and have them attached at the end of the final affidavit.
Some of the examples of documents to attach include photographic evidence, and other exhibits.
Signature of affiant
The affiant should then append his or her signature and date. The signature helps legalize the document, making it possible to use in a court of law. When signing the affidavit, the affiant should ensure that the notary public is present around to attest the authenticity of the sign and name.
Remember; you need to check the affidavit carefully before signing. This will help you understand certain elements that you will have to comply with once you’ve signed.
Affirmation of notary public
Usually, a notary public will serve as an impartial third party who is authorized by law to verify the identity of parties involved in that particular affidavit.
Once they have witnessed the signatures, they will then put a stamp and seal the document.
Writing and Filing an Affidavit Form
If asked to write an affidavit, you may probably ask yourself how to write one. Well, there are two common ways to achieve this. You can either hire a lawyer or write it by yourself.
If you find yourself lacking the confidence to write the forms properly, the best option to go for is hiring a lawyer. Since they are experienced in this sector, they will ensure your affidavit is free of errors. While it may come at some cost, lawyers help bring legal involvement and benefit in that sphere.
If you aren’t in a position to hire a lawyer, you can still write it yourself. If you decide to write it by yourself, make sure you have it typed to ensure organization. Sometimes, you will have to take your form to a lawyer or notary public to make amendments where necessary. At the same time, you need to remember that your affidavit will require signing in front of a notary.
As mentioned earlier, affidavits are documents that you will use frequently on government agencies, legal offices, and perhaps businesses. Therefore, you need to know how to file one to make you prepared for your future interactions. That’s said, you need to get information from these organizations so as to file an affidavit. Just in case you aren’t sure about the procedure, you can always ask a lawyer or the notary public.
Involved Parties in Writing an Affidavit
As mentioned earlier, there are certain parties that must be involved in an affidavit to ensure its efficiency.
Affiant— this is the person or party writing or filing an affidavit.
Witnesses— this is the person who can confirm the statements of the affiant. Generally, it’s recommended that the witnesses be at least two on every occasion.
Notary public— this is an individual allowed by law to authorize signatures, seals, or signs.
The court or legal entity— this refers to the relevant court receiving the affidavit.
Situations Requiring Affidavit
On several occasions, an affidavit form will be used when someone is expected to give his or her account of events based on a factual and truthful point of view.
Here are some situations where an affidavit may be necessary:
Proof of identity
Affidavits may be needed to prove an individual’s identity by providing their official names, date of birth, and proof of residence among other identifiable information.
Applying for government documents
Affidavits are also necessary when applying for government documents such as driving license, identification cards, visa, passport, and social security cards among others. They help prove that you are the person you claim to be.
Seeking government jobs
Most government jobs require applicants to produce proof of identification before being employed. The government as an employer is often keen on knowing the age, address, nationality, and place of birth. Therefore, when applying for such positions, an affidavit form is often necessary.
An affidavit will have all your identifiable personal details, including your old name. Therefore, if you want to change your name, you will require an affidavit to complete all the legal formalities associated with the change of name.
Affidavits are often filed with the court to show that the information provided is true. In some situations, an attorney may use an affidavit so that various parties can appear in court or other desired court proceedings.
Since they are similar to court proceedings, you will want an affidavit to provide facts, evidence or argument in support of your stance.
Signing a contract
Contractual agreements are often common. But before you sign the deal, it’s important you confirm the identity of the other party through an affidavit. This will help prevent fraudulence or irregularities from happening.
Before you engage in a business agreement, you will have to put all measures to safeguard your financial interests. Therefore, an affidavit will be an important tool to ensure both business parties adhere to the terms of an agreement in a manner that isn’t affecting each other’s financial status.
Swear a statement
An affidavit is needed when there is a need to swear a statement under oath. An affidavit is written evidence of oath.
Effects of Lying on the Affidavit Form
At any time, your affidavits should always contain nothing but the truth. That’s said, if you involve in any forms of cheating, then you risk facing various charges and repercussions.
Penalty of perjury
When signing the affidavit, you agree that every piece of information is true to the best of your knowledge. Therefore, if any information is somewhat found to be incorrect, it can lead to mandatory community service, jail time, or even fines.
Diminishing moral character
Lying in an affidavit can seriously affect your level of trust with other organizations or parties concerned with the affidavit. In fact, your character can be put in question. This can compromise other legal proceedings or rulings.
If you provide deceitful information, your statements will be treated as unreliable, hence cannot be used in a court of law. Worse off, you risk being charged for perjury should your affidavit contain falsifying information. In other cases, it can lead to withdrawal of court proceedings.
If requested to provide a financial affidavit, then lying can put you into serious financial sanctions. The courts do treat financial affidavits with lots of seriousness. Therefore, any form of deceit can attract the following financial sanctions:
- Distribution of your assets in a manner you wouldn’t wish to
- Award more money to non-offending parties than recommended.
Affidavit VS Sworn and Statutory Declaration
Although these terms are quite similar in their functioning but there are few differentiating factors that are enlisted in below table:
|Affidavit||Sworn declaration||Statutory declaration|
|An affidavit is a legal document written voluntarily to give out facts about someone, something, or process. This term is mostly common in the United States.||A sworn declaration entails a faster process of declaring one’s truth. In other words, it’s a quickened process of an affidavit.||A statutory declaration is a form of the affidavit used in selected countries such as the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada.|
Rules of Affidavit
Just because you understand the affidavit of your region doesn’t mean you can’t learn more. In fact, there are some unique rules you need to know about these documents. Let’s have a look at some of the rules:
- Your financial affidavit can have a different meaning under different jurisdictions.
- Before proceeding with your divorce proceeding, your lawyer will have to review major mistakes. Therefore, it’s important that you include all the necessary information.
- Your financial affidavits can always be revised even in the middle of a court proceeding.
Free Forms & Templates
If you are planning to write an affidavit by yourself, we are always here to help. While the process of writing an affidavit requires boldness and courage, there are specific formats and styles you need to follow. Our templates have whatever you need to write an affidavit like a pro. All you need to do is to download the templates for free and get them filled.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long is an affidavit valid?
Usually, the contents of an affidavit can last until infinity. However, you may be requested to update certain information as time goes by.
Is an affidavit direct evidence?
Direct evidence is evidence that can prove or disapprove a fact. Some of the common direct evidence used in courts include testimony from eyewitnesses or proven documentations.
What is the difference between an affidavit and a statutory document?
Both the statutory document and affidavit mean the same thing. The major difference is that statutory documents are used in Australia, Canada, and the UK. On the other hand, an affidavit is used in the United States.
Affidavits forms are very special documents. They help provide proof of identity, which is necessary when undertaking certain processes. Therefore, when requested to provide one, it’s important that you write one as per the demands. Also, you need to remember to stay true to your information. Otherwise, you risk facing charges in a court of law.