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What Is an Affidavit?

An Affidavit, sometimes called a sworn statement or a statement under oath, is a document used to make a statement of true facts under oath.

A person would use an Affidavit to:

  • Verify something is true (like their identity or place of address)
  • Present oral evidence in court (like describing the events that led to a separation or divorce)
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Who Is Involved in an Affidavit?

Generally, two people are involved in an Affidavit:

  • The person who created the Affidavit (called the affiant) and who is making a statement they know to be true
  • The person who has the authority to notarize the Affidavit (typically a notary public) and who ensures the affiant's identity aligns with the name used in the document

Affidavits that are used in court will typically include:

  • The name of the plaintiff or plaintiffs (the person, people, or entity who brought the dispute to court)
  • The name of the defendant or defendants (the person, people, or entity who needs to defend the dispute brought to court by the plaintiff or plaintiffs)

The affiant could be the plaintiff, the defendant, or an outside party assisting the plaintiff or the defendant with their court action. Who the affiant is in a court action typically depends on which party needs to provide a sworn statement to support or dispute their court claim.

When Do I Need an Affidavit?

Often, Affidavits are used to:

  • Confirm your address to a third-party (like a bank)
  • Verify your identity for a particular reason (like to open an investment account)
  • Prove that you served legal documents on another person
  • Establish inheritance rights after a family member has passed away
  • Record evidence (like your business's financial information) to support or dispute a claim made in a court action
  • Notify others of a person's death before a Death Certificate is obtained
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Are Affidavits Legally Binding?

Yes, an Affidavit is legally binding if it is properly executed, meaning it was:

  • Created by a legal adult who is of sound mind (i.e. mentally capable of signing a legal document for themselves)
  • Authenticated by the proper person (such as a notary public)
  • Sworn under oath

What Does "Under Oath" Mean?

An "oath" (sometimes called an affirmation) is a formal promise used to confirm that certain information is true (i.e. based on a person's personal knowledge or belief).

To swear an Affidavit under oath means you've made a promise that the information in your document is true. The consequence for lying while under oath is perjury.

"Perjury" is a criminal offense that involves deliberately making untrue statements after making an oath. It can result in hefty fines or jail time.

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Do You Need Another Kind of Legal Document?

After completing your Affidavit, consider creating one of our many estate documents, such as:

  • A Last Will and Testament in order to express how you want your estate to be divided in the event that you pass away
  • A Health Care Directive to inform health care practitioners of which types of medical treatments you consent to in case you are unable to communicate consent yourself
  • A Power of Attorney to allow another person to act on your behalf and make decisions regarding your finances, business, and more
  • A Revocation of Power of Attorney to revoke another person's authority to make decisions on your behalf after you created a Power of Attorney
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