Affidavit

An Affidavit is used to make a sworn statement or to attest to a fact in written form. Every fact and statement described in an affidavit must be solemnly true as if found to be false, those statements can be penalized for perjury. An affidavit is of the most serious of forms an individual can partake to sign.

Table of Contents

Types of Affidavits

Affidavit of Heirship – Used to prove that a person is a rightful heir to a deceased person’s property.

Affidavit of Forgery

Small Estate Affidavit – Used to request property to be transferred to those inheriting a will which negates the property having to go through probate.

Affidavit of Support – Also known as Form I-864, it allows a person to undertake the responsibility of using their financial resources to support an immigrant applying for citizenship.

Affidavit of Residence – A written declaration (under oath) issued by an individual attesting to the validity of their residency.

Affidavit of Service – Provides proof to a court that documents were served from one party to the other.

Affidavit of Domicile – If given the right, this form is used to take ownership of a deceased person’s stock after their death.

Affidavit of Domestic Partnership – Used to prove a relationship of an unmarried couple, typically requiring the couple to have lived together for at least 6 months. This affidavit if often used when a couple applies for health insurance together.

Financial Affidavit – A sworn document used by an individual to disclose their entire financial situation. Typically required when two people are getting into a divorce and divvying up their assets.

Affidavit in Spanish – A standard customizable affidavit worded in the Spanish language allowing an individual to make a written sworn statement.

Affidavit of Correction – Used to correct an error on a government record/document, such as a vehicle’s title certificate.

Affidavit of Paternity – Used to establish the paternity of a child when there is a question of doubt. Typically used when two individuals are adopting a child.

What is an Affidavit? (define/meaning)

An affidavit is used for legal matters when a person gives facts and swears them to be true. A person that signs an affidavit, which is the ultimate act of backing up their statements, is known as the “deponent”. An affidavit is not complete until signed and notarized. Once completed, an affidavit has the same effect as testifying under oath. An affidavit is most commonly used when obtaining testimony from a witness that is unable to appear in court. When an affidavit has the potential to either make or break a case, it’s recommended to seek consultation from a lawyer.

Affidavit Example

The example shown below is a general affidavit that can be used for any topic or legal matter that needs a sworn statement. For serious court matters that need sworn testimony, it’s advised to use an affidavit tailored to your specific needs. To use, copy and past the following text into Word or a text editor.

Date: ___/___/____

Attorney’s Name (if any): _______________

Affiant’s Name: _______________

Notary Public’s Name: _______________

The affiant, _______________, fully capacitated at this present time to give sworn written testimony, hereby acknowledges the following to be true. (1) I was born on ___/___/____ and I am currently a resident within the state of _______________. I standby all facts herein stated within this written instrument to be true. (2) The following testimony is an accurate account, both true and correct, of my personal knowledge.

This affidavit is made for the purposes of _________________________________________________________________________________________________

I, _______________, the affiant, testify under oath to the following written statement: ________________________________________________________________

Dated this ___ day of _______________, 20____

Sworn (or affirmed) before me at
_________________________

Signature of Affiant ____________________

Signature of Notary Public ____________________

How to Write an Affidavit

Stating facts is the most important rule to stick by when writing an affidavit. Verbiage that is opinionated should be avoided, as should exaggerations and over-the-top descriptions.

Step 1 – Select Affidavit Type

Writing an affidavit from scratch is not recommended. In some cases, you must use an affidavit provided by the U.S. Government, such as an Affidavit of Support when claiming to financially support an immigrant’s efforts for citizenship. When needed to provide an affidavit, it’s best to use an affidavit template that’s specific to your case.

Step 2 – Detail the Facts

Only give personal knowledge from memory. Cloudy statements that can’t be recalled with defiance should be omitted from being written in an affidavit. Once an individual’s testimony is written in stone, it can not be changed, even if the deponent backtracks or can’t recall their written testimony when brought up in court. When preparing facts to be placed in an affidavit, three rules should be followed:

  1. Only describe the Who, What, Where, When and How.
  2. Leave out emotional and opinionated descriptions.
  3. Do not include unrelated material.

Step 3 – Hire a Professional if Necessary

Affidavits that are used to solve petty issues typically do not need the oversight of a lawyer. An affidavit verifying an executor of an estate or the identity of a beneficiary would fall under this category of not needing legal representation. Affidavits used to take witness testimony for a court case should always be done with the help of a lawyer.

Step 4 – Sworn and Notarized

To certify an affidavit, the individual making the written statement, known as the affiant, must sign the affidavit in the presence of a notary public. The notary public is not responsible for knowing if the statements made by the affiant are true. The notary public’s sole job is to confirm the identity of the affiant and to witness their signature when signing the affidavit. The notary will attest to being a witness by printing their name and signing the affidavit.

FAQs

How to get an affidavit?

The best way to obtain an affidavit is by calling or visiting your local court house. Your state may even provide affidavit forms online. Every state has official court forms, which include affidavits, that are provided for free or for a small fee. For a general affidavit, such as an Affidavit of Domicile, it’s not required to use a state issued affidavit form. Simply use a template provided by us or by a lawyer.

Does an affidavit have to be notarized?

An affidavit, in most cases, must be notarized. Depending on the type of affidavit and the state that issued the form, the affidavit could be signed by a clerk, attorney, or a judge as a substitute for a notary public. The signature of the deponent must wait until they are present in front of the notary public when inscribing their signature on the affidavit. Once the deponent signs, then to shall the notary public.

What is a sworn affidavit?

A sworn affidavit is an affidavit without a notary public’s signature (non-witnessed). Instead of being notarized, the deponent signs the document that includes a clause stating that the declaration is punishable by perjury if found not to be true.  A sworn affidavit is misleading because it appears to be more secure, however it is not the case. A sworn affidavit should be avoided if possible (always have your affidavit signed by a notary public).

How to file an Affidavit?

When an affidavit is complete, the document, along with any attachments, need to be filed with your local court’s county clerks office. Courts typically charge a filing fee for processing an affidavit which may be waived if approved.

Who can sign an affidavit?

Essentially, the only person required to sign an affidavit is a notary public. A notary public signing an affidavit will never fail to hold up in court. Although not recommended, the affiant can self-witness an affidavit (which is called a sworn affidavit). When witnessed in court; a clerk, lawyer or judge may sign (witness) an affidavit.

What is a self proving affidavit?

A self proving affidavit is used to provide an extra layer of documentation when an individual creates their will. It eliminates the possibility of a testator’s will being called into question after their death. It protects the beneficiaries in a will from being challenged after the death of the individual (testator) who created the will.

How to file a counter affidavit?

A counter affidavit is used in small claims court to counter-claim a plaintiff suing a defendant for money owed. A counter affidavit is filed when the defendant disagrees and believes that the plaintiff is the party in default for owing money. After a court sets the trial date from the plaintiff’s original affidavit to sue, the defendant can then file a counter affidavit which will reset the trail to a new date. There is typically a fee involved for filing a counter affidavit.