Affidavit – Process and Types

What is an Affidavit?

An affidavit is simply a formal document stating facts sworn to be true in front of a notary and signed in their presence. An affidavit attests to the truth of factual matters. For example, an affidavit might declare your place of residence or signatory information. The person that affixes their signature to the Affidavit is attesting under Oath to the integrity of the contents. Also, an affidavit may be used to attest to someone’s marriage or death or for other important reasons.

In a court of law, you must swear to tell the truth under penalty of perjury. In an affidavit, no such oath is required. However, false statements can still result in your arrest and prosecution for perjury or making a false affidavit. There are many times in business when you’ll need to make an official statement about an event. An affidavit is one way to do this.

When should I use an Affidavit?

You can use Affidavit when-

  • When you’re looking for a statement of fact under Oath, you need more than just a statement of facts – you need an affidavit.
  • You may wish to issue someone with an affidavit. This allows you to ask someone to swear under Oath that their statement is true.

Instances like-

  1. As part of a settlement between two parties who have been involved in a dispute over money
  2. Property
  3. To verify a name change
  4. To confirm identity
  5. Many people who want to start new businesses or manage existing businesses use an affidavit as part of the planning process. It helps explain issues to potential landlords and tenants, gives updates on legal proceedings, and can be used by judges in determining whether or not to grant an application for a motion to stay or set aside an eviction notice.

There are many reasons why someone needs an affidavit. For example, someone who has been incarcerated may not get traditional legal help or documents required by creditors. Or a spouse may wish to take steps to protect assets given up for support. An affidavit can be a powerful tool when used appropriately. Use it well, and it can help you get what you want in a negotiation or court case.

Financial institutions use an affidavit to verify a person’s identity seeking assistance with a debt or loan. The purpose of an affidavit is to establish or maintain the good credit standing of a borrower so that a lender can lawfully reduce or eliminate a loan amount or extend a time limit on payment.

The lender may request an affidavit at any time during the probationary period established by law or regulation on behalf of the borrower. The borrower may also request an affidavit after declaring bankruptcy or securing a new loan after the end.

What are other names for an Affidavit?

An affidavit is known with the following names:

  • Affidavit Form
  • Affidavit Letter
  • Sworn Affidavit
  • General Affidavit 
  • Sworn statement 
  • Notarized statement
  • Statement Under Oath 
  • Sworn Oath Form 
  • Sworn Oath Statement 
  • General Affidavit.

How to write an Affidavit?

Following things should be kept in mind while writing an affidavit

To ensure that the Affidavit is easily understood, follow these best practice guidelines when completing it.

  • Give reasons why you are filing the Affidavit.
  • Explain how the information in the Affidavit pertains to the facts stated in the petition. 
  • Use clear and concise language when describing events or circumstances. 
  • Avoid using general terms like “we, our, our” or “our company.” 
  • Include your full legal name (last name only), street address, and phone number.
  • Pay attention to the Formatting instructions and other instructions that are relevant to the case.
  • Don’t forget to notarize your Affidavit.

Who can sign an Affidavit?

  • To sign an affidavit, the person must comprehend what they are signing and be 18 years old. Anyone likely to have firsthand knowledge of the Affidavit’s contents should sign an affidavit, except that they cannot sign if they were not present when the alleged events occurred. They also should not sign if they feel pressured or coerced into signing.
  • A witness must understand that if they knowingly present false information, they are committing a crime.
  • They must have proper identification documents to prove their identity, such as a state-issued driver’s license or ID, U.S. Military ID, Resident alien ID, or U.S. passport.
  • If you are appending your signature to a formal document, make sure that the entire statement entirely agrees with your thoughts and beliefs. It’s a good idea to read the statement in its entirety before making any decisions because once it is signed, it becomes legally binding.

What is the notarization process for signing an Affidavit?

The best way to make an affidavit legal is to have it notarized. Ensuring your document is valid and legal is the job of the notary public. This individual checks the information in your document; you have signed it in their presence and signs it with their seal. This makes it official and could be used to prove something if necessary.

  • A notary public needs to validate the person’s identity signing the Affidavit and certify that the person did so willingly by asking for identification, requiring verification of a signature if needed, and making a statement to affirm their identity.
  • The Affidavit is to administer an oath or affirmation to the signer.
  • The notary is responsible for verifying that you appeared before them.
  • A notary public watches over the signing of important documents and makes sure everything goes smoothly.
  • Verify that you are swearing under Oath or are affirming that you understand the consequences of lying.

What are the most common types of affidavits?

The Affidavit of Birth is a legal document that may be used if you cannot locate your original birth certificate. These affidavits can be useful if you lose or misplace your original birth record. They allow you to use a secondary source of information that confirms some of your birth details.

1. Affidavit of Name Change

Usually signed by another person (most commonly your spouse, parent, or sibling), the document changes the common name you go by into a name different from what you were born with.

2. Affidavit of support 

The Affidavit of support is a legal document signed by the sponsor promising to assist the immigrant financially for up to ten years.

3. Affidavit of Heirship

For individuals without a Will, the Affidavit of Heirship can help to ensure that heirs can gain control of their estate. It generally needs to be witnessed by people who don’t stand to benefit from the deceased’s estate.

4. Affidavit of death

An affidavit of death legally notifies others (like the bank, government agencies, etc.) of death and allows an executor to take care of their duties.

5. Affidavit of Domicile

The Affidavit of Domicile should be used to indicate that a property transfer has taken place at a specific address and may also verify a person’s right to property.

6. Affidavit of Residence

This is a legal document that says where you live. It’s often used to help with school admissions, sign up for services or prove your employment. This is a legal document that says where you live. It’s often used to help with school admissions, sign up for services or prove your employment.

7. Affidavit of Small Estate

The Affidavit of Small Estate is a short and straightforward document. This document informs the court that the estate in question qualifies as a “small estate,” usually capped around $150,000.

8. ID Theft Affidavit

You can use an ID Theft Affidavit to inform financial institutions, creditors, and other businesses that your identity was stolen. Fill out this form carefully, so you don’t delay getting yourself back on track.