Courts require people to tell nothing but the truth, whether that declaration or statement is oral or written. The affidavit is just one form to tell the court everything you know.
If you do not tell the truth, you can be cited or arrested for perjury, just like if you told a lie on the witness stand. To use an affidavit effectively and correctly, just continue to read our article.
It has the information you need to know about in order, to tell the truth when making statements about events, facts, and other statements.
What Is an Affidavit Form?
An affidavit form is a legal document that contains your testimony about different events, relationships, and so on. Just like appearing in court and being sworn in by the officer of the court, you are swearing that you are telling the truth when you record your statements.
Also, these must be filled out voluntarily and, once done are used for different legal purposes. These forms often take the place of a person who cannot appear in court.
Types of Affidavits
There is no one size fits all affidavit form. That is because there are a variety of legal issues that cover different areas of the legal system. A criminal affidavit cannot be used in a hearing deciding affairs of an estate and vice versa. Here are some of the types you may have to use someday:
- Heirship – proving your claim to an estate as the rightful heir
- Small estate – avoids probate for small transfer of property
- Support – testifies that you are financially able to provide for a legal immigrant
- Residence – proves one’s residency
- Service – proves that legal documents were presented to a person
- Domicile – proves rightful ownership of a deceased person’s stocks
- Domestic partnership – proves one romantic relationship between unmarried couples. There is a 6-month minimum before being able to use this form
- Financial – discloses all financial information of a person (used for divorces mainly)
- Spanish – written in that language
- Correction – used to correct a government record or document error
- Paternity – establishes a parental identity
How to Write
The exact content of the affidavit you will write will depend on which type you select or need. here are 4 basic steps that are involved in writing an affidavit:
#1. Make your choice – go through the list and pick the one that fits your situation
#2. Just the facts – write only the facts or the who, what, where, when, why, and how of an issue. Leave out emotional statements and opinions as well as unrelated details and information.
#3. Use a professional – if you are not sure what to do or what information to use, hire a lawyer to help you. A lawyer is the only person who can provide legal advice.
#4. Go to a notary – in front of this person, you sign and date the affidavit, and then he or she puts their seal on the form.
Affidavit VS. Sworn Declaration
These two statements are similar yet different. The former is preferred by judges because the information is sworn and signed before a public official or notary public. The person filling out the affidavit has their signature verified by one of those officials.
In the case of the latter form, only the person’s signature is required and there are no witnesses, usually, the writing of the content or signature. While the legal significance is the same, the person using a sworn statement is called a declarant, and the person signing the affidavit is called an affiant.
The affidavit is governed by the laws of perjury while a sworn statement is not.
When is an Affidavit Form Used?
This form is used in a variety of legal situations. Everywhere from immigration purposes to receiving an inheritance. They are also used in criminal legal proceedings as well as establishing one’s personal residence.
In cases of divorce or adoption, they can be used to prove the financial holdings of the separating partners or establishing parentage. The form you use has to match the legal action being taken at the time. These forms are not interchangeable.
Who Can Notarize an Affidavit?
There are several options at your disposal and one of them can be done but it is highly not recommended. You can self-witness your own affidavit, but it is not the best or strongest witness you can have.
If you are out of court, you need either a notary public or a commissioner of oaths to notarize your signature and details. When you are in court, a clerk, lawyer, or judge can notarize your affidavit for you.
Consequences of Lying on an Affidavit
An affidavit is exactly like giving testimony in court in person. You are giving testimony in court but the affidavit takes your place. Then because it is a notarized form, your affidavit is subject to the same laws of perjury that govern sworn in-person court testimony.
If it is discovered that you lied on the affidavit, then it will be up to the prosecutor to press perjury charges against you. The penalty will be up to the judge if you are found guilty.
Affidavit Form (Templates)
There are two hard aspects to filling out an affidavit. The first is finding the right one that fits your legal circumstances and the second is telling the truth. If you can master those two aspects the rest of filling out this form is easy.
These documents are legal documents and taken very seriously by the judge, officers of the court as well as government officials. Be accurate, be factual, and tell the truth.