An affidavit is a sworn written statement that contains factual details and is the primary method of presenting evidence in the court of law. The evidence may be provided by people who are supporting a case, such as witnesses. The affidavit should then be notarized by a public notary in order to be affirmed.
Ready-to-use affidavit form templates are available for download in .doc and .pdf formats below. These easily accessible affidavit templates are extremely useful and handy for lawyers or among individuals who are applying for visas or school and college admissions.
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Why Do You Need an Affidavit?
Typically, there are no written statutes in the United States that impose a specific requirement for a person to be allowed or prohibited from making an affidavit. Ideally, the person writing an affidavit has to be of sound and stable mind and is mature enough to understand the gravity of signing an affidavit under oath.
There is a superfluity in the reasons or instances when an affidavit is needed. A plethora of legal purposes can be identified in relation to this, such as divorce cases, visa applications, college admissions, property disputes, debt settlements, bulk transfers, and the list could go on.
The content of an affidavit can greatly affect on on-going legal case. Some of the information that are necessary and significant to be seen in an affidavit should be clearly stated so proper proceedings will be done. Some of the instances where an affidavit can be used are listed below.
- Confirmation of an individual’s identity in cases of identity theft
- Notification for circumstance changes within a transaction
- Verification of residency for employment
- Verification of location permanency for academic enrollment, admissions, or application
- Notification of a person’s death
- Provision of property ownership claim authenticity
- Verification of declared assets
- Provision of claims receipts
- Identification of proof for official and/or confidential documents acquisition
- Notification for losses and other compromise
- Confirmation of facts necessary to be used for legal proceedings
Not only is an affidavit a useful legal tool; it is also a necessary form of written document in business. More often than not, a lawyer or an attorney drafts an affidavit; however, the contents of an affidavit are primarily based on the factual details that are provided by an affiant or a declarant, the person who writes or declares the statements within an affidavit. The affidavit is then notarized by a notary public to authenticate its contents in order for it to be eligible for court presentation.
There is a need for an affiant to voluntarily provide an affidavit to make the usage of the document valid. It is essential to be known that all the information that will be stated by an affiant will still be under the processes of evaluation and verification. The statements presented in an affidavit is considered to be factual, until proven otherwise in some cases. This is the reason why an affiant needs to remember that everything that he/she says are given under an oath. If the affiant already provides his/her signature, an affidavit is already considered legal and available to be used. If it has been proven that the content of the affidavit, or even some parts of it; are not real, then the affiant may face legal charges and penalties.
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What Are the Types of Affidavits?
The usage of an affidavit is very important when it comes to any legal proceedings where a particular information needs to be verified, identified, or proven. There are different reasons why an affidavit is made. For you to fully maximize the usage of the specified document, you first need to be aware of the kind of affidavit that you would like to create. We have listed a few types of affidavit below so you can easily identify which of them is needed for your current undertaking.
Affidavit of Identification Theft. Also called as affidavit of personal information theft, this affidavit can be used for the following reasons:
- If valid proof of identification like identification cards have been stolen from an individual and there is a need for these cards to be replaced
- If an individual’s personal information has been used for a transaction where he/she is not a part of
- If the private details about an individual has been compromised
- If there is a need for the information of an individual to be changed or updated in business transactions to ensure that the stolen identity has been duly noted
- If there is a need to prove that an individual who will undergo a professional process is the real person who’s identity has been stolen, and not the other way around
The role that an affidavit of identity/identification theft can provide is to strengthen the claims that a person’s identity has either been stolen, used, or compromised. As a sworn and legal statement, it must indicate all the details about the incident. Having this document can help organizations and businesses to trust the individual. More so, it can help in terms of producing the identification cards that has been stolen while keeping a record of the incident for safety and security purposes.
Affidavit of Death. There are instances where the death of a person is needed to be known by entities other than the friends, relatives, and the immediate family of the person who died. The information that are usually seen in an affidavit of death include the name of the person, the person’s date of birth and his/her date of death. The usage of affidavit of death is commonly observed in processes within the professional environment. Affidavit of death can be used as follows:
- To provide information about the death of a person to his/her current company for the family to have access to any entitlements
- To state the details of a person’s death to the organizations where the person is a member of
- To provide a proof of death to government agencies, in case there is a need for one, in particular transactions especially when it comes to claiming the benefits of the family and the like
- To inform a bank about the death of an individual whose account is necessary to be touched for financial transactions by a member of the family in behalf of the deceased
Affidavit of Financial Records / Finances. An affidavit of financial records or a financial affidavit is used to provide information about the finances of an individual. The financial status stated in this document can contain any or a combination of the following:
- The net worth of an individual
- The amount of the salary/income that an individual gets within a specified time duration
- The material assets of an individual
- The amount of money that a person has in his/her savings account
Using an affidavit of financial records can help set cases especially those that are related to divorce and financial support.
Affidavit of Name Change. There is always a need for the information gathered by government agencies and even the companies where you are currently working in to be updated. If you are a woman who recently got married and your surname has been changed, you need to have an affidavit of name change so you can present a proof that your former name has been changed to your current name. This will help entities to update your records for transactions to be easily made and for you to not be faced with transaction misunderstandings in the future.
Affidavit for Small Estates. Small estates refer to the assets left by a deceased person. These small estates can be divided, distributed and appointed within family members under legal processes. It is important to be reminded that an affidavit for small estates is necessary to be used only if the deceased person was not able to create a will before dying.
Affidavit for Proof of Residency. Providing a proof of your residency is very important in these processes:
- When you are applying for a job and your prospective employer needs to verify your permanent, current, and mailing address
- When you are applying for school admissions within your locality and the address of your parents need to be verified so you can get particular academic benefits for locals
- When you are applying for tenancy and your landlord needs a proof of your permanent location of residence
There are still different transactions where an affidavit for proof of residency is needed. When creating one, you need to make sure that you will provide specific and accurate information as a single mistake may it be on your lot number or zip code can affect the effectiveness of using the document.
Affidavit of Support. The usage of an affidavit of support is important in the processes of visa application for people who would like to go to the United States where the presence of a sponsor is available. The document states that an American citizen will provide the financial needs of an individual. This will let the government confirm that there is a legal document that can prove that a person is capable of going in the country and he/she has enough finances to be able to live there and take care of his/her needs.
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What Makes Up an Affidavit?
Though there are different kinds of affidavits that can be used in a variety of processes, there are information that are commonly found in all of them. These information are necessary to ensure that the affidavit is highly-usable and effective. Some of the general information that are commonly found in most affidavits include the following:
- The affiant’s complete name, address, and any other basic information which are important to be specified
- The information about the purpose or reason on why the affidavit is created
- The facts that support the purpose of the affidavit’s creation
- The date that the affidavit has been signed by the affiant
- The seal or signature of a notary public
How Do I Create an Affidavit?
As a legal document, most affidavits are created by an attorney or a legal counsel whose expertise are on making one. Creating an affidavit is very technical as it should provide the information that are helpful in the case where it will be used. There are a variety of templates that are already available for you to have an idea on how an affidavit can be created. Since there are a lot of affidavits with a variety of purposes of usage, you need to make sure that the sample that you will use as a reference is relevant to the nature of the case where you will use the affidavit.
If you want to create an affidavit, here are the steps that you may refer to:
Provide the Date and the Case Identification. Identifying the date when the affidavit was made is very important. You need to make sure that this information is accurate as it can be the basis on the duration of the time that has occurred from the existence of the case up to taking actions necessary for the case to be resolved.
Names of the People Involved. Always present the complete name of the parties who are involved in the transaction where the affidavit will be used. Indicate proper spelling to avoid any complications and issues in the future.
Provide the Written and Sworn Statement. Once you have already specified the date when the affidavit has been put together and signed, the case identification, and the people within the transaction; the next thing that you should do is to specify the statement that you would like to swear for under oath. Always rely on facts when doing this as it can affect the entirety of the case where the affidavit will be used.
Have a Statement of Affirmation. The clause of statement affirmation is important to be placed in an affidavit as it allows the declarant to be under an oath. You need to make sure that the declarant is stating valid information as falsification of details can result to charges and other legal measures.
Have the Signatures of the Affiant and the Witness. At the end of the affidavit, the signatures and names of both the affiant and the witness shall be present. Right below the affidavit, the names of the affiant and the witnesses should be stated along with their signatures. This allows legal entities to ensure that both parties are aware and knowledgeable of the information present in the document.
Some Tips to Remember When Drafting an Affidavit
When preparing an affidavit, the writer should remember the following key principles to make sure that the document looks, sounds, and appears as legitimate as can be:
- Always maintain the organization of information to be presented in the affidavit. You need to be aware of the format that you will use. Make sure that the format will be followed within the entirety of the document. This allows cohesion to take place. It will also help in terms of identifying the nature and usages of the details within the document in an easier and faster manner.
- Make sure to use a professional and formal language. You need to be clear when stating facts. However, this does not mean that you will write these information in any manner that you want. Be reminded that affidavits are used for legal transactions. Hence, you need to do your best to make the document be business-like.
- It will be best if you will use headings, clause dividers and bullet points so you can help people who will review the document have a more efficient and effective time when browsing through the content of the affidavit.
- Always check your grammar as well as the content of the affidavit. It will be best if the document will be error-free for the sake of your own credibility. You just can’t say that a mistake occurred when you are already asked of the factual basis of your affidavit’s content especially if it has already been signed.
Who Can Act as Legal Witness to an Affidavit?
- A Notary Public
- Court Officials
Where Can I Seek Legal Advice for an Affidavit?
You can always make your own affidavit or print out one of our sample affidavit forms. However, if you have any questions concerning the legalities of an affidavit, you may seek legal counsel at your local legal aid office, community legal centers, or a private law firm.
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