Sometimes, you'll need to convince a business, individual, or court that you're relating your knowledge in the most accurate way possible. You can do so by signing an Affidavit.
You might also request that someone signs an Affidavit if they are relating information which, should it prove false, could injure you in some way. The execution of an Affidavit makes the person conveying knowledge legally liable if it's later proven they were lying.
An Affidavit is a legally-binding document, made voluntarily, which details a sworn statement an individual has made. An Affidavit is often used in court to prove the truthfulness of a statement made by a witness.
If someone lies in an Affidavit, they can be fined or imprisoned depending on the circumstances and the nature of the information. A person could still face repercussions even if they give incorrect information unknowingly, so be very certain of the veracity of your statement before signing an Affidavit.
If someone else believes an individual has given false information under oath, they can file a counter-affidavit. Essentially, this challenges the alleged facts in an affidavit and, usually, a court is asked to adjudicate on the matter.
Depending on your state, an Affidavit may also be known as:
Statement Under Oath
An Affidavit isn't as rare as it might appear. You might need an Affidavit for entirely mundane transactions. Some examples of when you would use an Affidavit include:
Establishing hereditary rights following the passing of a family member
Verifying your identity, such as when opening investment accounts
As part of official functions for a number of institutions, including banks and insurance companies
You'll also need Affidavits for more substantive matters. Courts frequently use Affidavits to show that a particular key piece of information is true. Affidavits are a requirement in many court proceedings.
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Your Affidavit needs to be customized to cover highly specific information. Otherwise, you may be swearing to something that you don't really know to be factual. By answering a few simple questions, our proprietary form generator will create an Affidavit valid in your jurisdiction and suited to your needs.
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To create your document please provide:
Affiant: The full name and address of the person swearing that the information in the Affidavit is true.
Date of This Affidavit: Date when the affiant made the Affidavit.
Governing State: Select which state's laws will apply to the Affidavit.
County of Execution: County where the Affidavit will be signed.
Case Information: If the Affidavit is used in connection to a specific court case, the details of the case and identity of the parties involved should be in the Affidavit.
Sworn Facts or Statement: The unabridged facts that the affiant is swearing to. Choose this statement carefully.
Signatures: Signatures of the affiant and at least one witnessing authority.
Testimony: Any statement made under oath and sworn to under penalty of perjury.
Declarant: Another word for an affiant. The person making a sworn statement.
Exhibit: This is a document attached to the Affidavit that is used as evidence if the truthfulness of the Affidavit comes into question.
Perjury: Intentionally swearing to a false statement, spoken or written, in an official proceeding.
To be valid, an Affidavit needs to be signed by the affiant and the signature must be notarized by a notary public. The notary public needs to witness the signing and will conduct an oath requiring the affiant to declare that all the information described in the Affidavit is true to the best of their knowledge.
By signing an Affidavit, you're also saying you're competent to testify about the information if a court calls on you to do so.
Make sure you review the Affidavit thoroughly before signing it. You'll be bound to the statement therein once it's signed.
If the Affidavit was created in connection to legal proceedings, follow the required further steps as established by the court. If it's part of a contract or other official process, keep a copy for your own records and provide a copy to the person or entity that requested it.
The exact manner of filing an Affidavit depends on the entity or agency that requested it. Consult the requesting person or organization about further steps once your Affidavit is completed and signed.
If you requested the Affidavit, distribute a copy to the affiant and keep a copy in your personal records.
To be legally effective, the general affidavit must be signed in front of a notary public or other legal authority.
Yes. You can make amendments to an Affidavit, and it may become necessary if you learn new information that disproves what you originally swore to. You'll need to reaffirm the statement in the original Affidavit and then provide the additional information in a separate document. An amendment to the original Affidavit must be executed in the same way to be valid.
Lying in an Affidavit can result in penalties of perjury. Perjury is a federal and state crime but the penalties vary based on the jurisdiction where it happened. If you're convicted of perjury, the degree to which the perjury interfered with court proceedings will affect the penalty. You may face a fine, a prison sentence, or both.
Moreover, you'll be viewed in a legal proceeding as having diminished moral character. This could call into question any further statements you make and compromise any legal decisions in your future.
Practically speaking, both documents serve the same purpose — to swear that a statement is true. However, Affidavits are most often used in the context of court proceedings or organizational processes. Statutory declarations are most often used outside of the courts and by government agencies to submit facts.
Yes, in most cases. There are no age limitations on who can and cannot sign an affidavit. However, a minor will need to be deemed of sound mind and old enough to understand that he or she is signing a document that must be true.
Yes, and you should absolutely not sign an Affidavit if you don't fully understand the terms or you disagree with any of the information in the statement. Contact an attorney for legal counsel if you don't want to sign an Affidavit requested of you.
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