Affidavits, or notarized sworn statements, are used to swear that any written statement or fact is legally valid. You can use an affidavit for many reasons, such as to claim someone was born, to state an item was given as a gift, or as evidence in court.
Types of Affidavits
There are numerous affidavits, all specific to why they’re being used. Listed below are several different types of affidavits with free, customizable legal templates:
What is an Affidavit?
An affidavit is a legal document containing a written statement sworn under oath. Affidavits are often used in court proceedings, where a statement of the facts of a matter is required. When you write an affidavit and sign it, you’re swearing under the law that the information contained in the document is accurate.
Affidavits are signed voluntarily in the presence of witnesses and notarized by a public official. Meeting these requirements makes affidavits legally binding, and the signer risks the penalty of perjury if they lie.
➔ Related: How to Write an Affidavit
When is an Affidavit Used?
An affidavit is used when someone is required or asked to make a statement of fact under oath.
You’ll commonly find affidavits used in the following situations:
- Court cases
- Legal summonses
- Pre-trial interrogatories during legal proceedings
- Verifying finances to a judge or bank
- Attesting to an address
- Proving a relationship with a deceased individual
- Distributing property to beneficiaries
- Purchasing land or real estate
How To Write an Affidavit
Step 1 – Fill in the court case information (if applicable)
If your affidavit is used in a court case, you should fill in the document’s relevant details. This includes the following:
- Court and jurisdiction
- Plaintiff and Defendant
- Case number
Step 2 – Provide your details and your written statement
You must provide your details, such as your name and address. Then write your statement of facts with the following guidelines:
- Avoid writing as if you’re giving an opinion — state the facts
- Write in the first person, using “I”
- Use simple and correct grammar to express your point
- Arrange your facts in a chronological and coherent manner
- Separate your facts so it is easy to read and refer to in court
- Reference any supporting documents and mark those supporting documents as “exhibits.”
Step 3 – Date and sign the document
Once finished, you should fill in the date you wrote the affidavit and provide your signature.
Step 4 – Notarize the Document
Notarizing the document is the last step but the most crucial. You must take the signed affidavit to a notary public who will certify and then notarize the document. This will make it eligible to be used as evidence in court.
How to Notarize an Affidavit
The notarization process for signing an affidavit typically involves the following steps:
- Prepare the affidavit
- Contact the licensed notary public to schedule an appointment
- Present identification through a government-issued photo ID, such as a driver’s license or passport
- Sign the affidavit in the notary’s presence
- Take an oath or affirmation
- The notary completes the notarization
- Pay the notary fee
- Receive the notarized affidavit
It’s important to note that the specific notarization requirements and procedures may vary by jurisdiction. Therefore, it’s advisable to consult the laws and regulations of your particular jurisdiction or seek legal advice if you have any questions or concerns about the process.
General Affidavit Template
Below is a blank General Affidavit template for most use cases.
How To File an Affidavit
Knowing how to file an affidavit depends entirely on the exact purpose of the affidavit. Various government agencies, legal offices, and businesses use affidavits. So you need information from the relevant organizations to file the document.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does an Affidavit Have To Be Notarized?
Yes, an affidavit must be notarized according to the laws of your state. The notary public is there to ensure the validity of the signature and the affiant’s identity and guarantee that you signed the affidavit without being coerced.
Who Can Sign or Notarize an Affidavit?
All affidavits must be signed by the affiant and a notary.
The notary public must first notarize the affidavit, signifying that they attest to the authenticity of the affiant’s presence and signature. They then stamp and seal the document to be filed with the appropriate agency.
There is no age requirement for an affiant when signing an affidavit. As long as an affiant is “of sound mind” and old enough to understand the significance of the oath and affirmation of facts, they may sign it.
What is a Statutory Declaration?
It is a legal document containing a written statement of facts about something true. Statutory declarations are sworn oaths like affidavits but are used to give facts like your identity, nationality, or marital status if you cannot show the proper documentation.