An Affidavit is also known as:
- Sworn Statement
- Statement Under Oath
- Notarized Statement
What is an Affidavit?
An Affidavit is a sworn written statement of facts made under oath. The person who signs the Affidavit (the declarant/affiant) makes an oath in front of the witness to confirm that the statements therein are factual to the best of the declarant's knowledge. This affirmation is usually administered by a notary public or a commissioner of oaths in most jurisdictions.
An Affidavit is most often used as evidence in court, and it must be made voluntarily by the declarant and based on his or her personal knowledge or belief.
There is no minimum age required to make an Affidavit, but the declarant must be of sound mind and able to understand the statement and the implications of making a sworn oath. In most cases, this is done by adults 18 years or older, unless it is an unusual situation which requires the sworn statement of children, such as in family court or criminal court proceedings.
When is an Affidavit Needed?
You may also use an Affidavit to confirm other types of information as needed, such as:
- To notify a third party of a death prior to receiving a Death Certificate.
- To confirm your residential address or verify your residency.
- To confirm that you use a name that is different than the one on your birth certificate, or to confirm a name change to a third party.
- To swear to your identity if your personal information is ever compromised.
- To record the assets, debts, and other financial aspects of yourself or your business.
- To assert ownership of a deceased kin's property or to attest yourself to be the rightful heir.
- To attest that you or a third party served the documents to the recipient as intended.
- To confirm formal statements to be used as evidence in court.
What's Included in an Affidavit?
An Affidavit includes information such as:
- The name and address of the person swearing the Affidavit.
- The facts of the Affidavit (what the declarant is swearing to).
- Information about the court where it will be used or filed.
- Signing details for both the affiant and the notary public.
What You Should Know Before Signing
Signing an Affidavit and swearing to the statements made within it is a serious matter. By attesting to the Affidavit and its content, you are making the same kind of oath as you would in a court of law.
Lying on an Affidavit is punishable by law, and the severity of the charge depends on the jurisdiction. In some cases, it is considered perjury. The possible repercussions for fabricated statements range from fines to jail time.