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Last Update February 14th, 2024

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What Is an Affidavit

An affidavit is a sworn statement, which is given in writing. It allows people to make legally binding promises and declarations that can be used for business, personal, or legal purposes. 

Affidavits will often be admitted in law settings, for example, as evidence in court cases, although they can also be used in personal or business transactions when extra assurance is required. Signing an affidavit ultimately binds the signatory to the veracity of their statement. 

These essential legal documents can be known by many different names such as:

  • Affidavit Letter

  • Sworn Affidavit

  • General Affidavit

  • Sworn Statement

Types of Affidavit Forms

There are numerous types of sworn statement forms that can be created, depending on their intended use. Below we’ve detailed some of the most common forms of affidavits that you may come across. 

General Affidavit 

A general affidavit is a simplified statement of veracity that can be used for a variety of purposes. They can be specifically customized to be used for almost any precise legal need.

Certificate of Trust

A certificate of trust of trust proves that a trust exists. It provides only the most essential details of a trust that are necessary to complete a transaction. 

It’s normal for financial establishments to ask for this certificate before the distribution of funds to a trustee or a successor trustee. 

By using an affidavit of trust, you can avoid the need to draft a copy of the trust for others and still give them all the key information.

Affidavit (Proof) of Residency

An affidavit proof of residence can be created to prove that you live at a specific address. These can be essential during the moving process when enrolling children in school and setting up accounts with businesses such as banks in your new area. 

Affidavit of Support

An affidavit of support is a legal document used during the immigration process. In this case, they are signed by the spouses of non-citizen green card applicants to guarantee the financial support of the prospective cardholder.    

Small Estate Affidavit

Small estate affidavits are necessary in some states when the representatives or executors of an estate wish to show that the deceased’s property doesn’t exceed small estate law threshold amounts. This can be done to ensure that the holdings can be quickly and simply distributed.  

Gift Affidavit

A gift affidavit is employed in cases where one party wishes to gift another money or property. The document is signed to confirm that the gifter expects no payment or compensation for the items given to the recipient.

Service Affidavit

Service affidavits are used to state that specific documents have been served to their intended recipient. These forms detail when the documents were delivered and to who they were given. 

Financial Affidavit

Financial affidavits are applied to show that a person’s financial details could be necessary to proceed with a family law matter. These are often used in divorce or child support cases when assets and debt obligations are distributed.

Affidavit of Heirship

Affidavits of heirship are used when someone has died intestate (without a will) and their heirs wish to prove their family connection to the deceased. These are essential to provide a chain of inheritance when no prior directives such as a will or a trust have been created.    

Affidavit of Birth

An affidavit of birth can be used when you’ve lost your birth certificate. These documents can be created and signed by a blood relative or a physician to provide the key details about your birth such as its date and location. 

Affidavit of Name Change

You can use an affidavit of name change if you use a title that’s different from your birth name and you have not legally changed it. This document will normally need to be signed by another blood relative or your spouse.

Sworn Statement or Affidavit

A sworn declaration is functionally similar to an affidavit, however, it is presented as a spoken statement rather than as a written document.

Affidavits, on the other hand, do the opposite and present the facts stated by the signatory (known as an affiant) in written form. Both types of evidence are given under oath. 

What Is The Purpose of an Affidavit

Affidavits are used to clarify facts. They are often used in court to provide witness statements for individuals who are unable to appear personally in the courtroom. However, they also have a number of other practical purposes.

You will often find affidavits uses in matters such as your personal affairs and business necessities. They are also essential to complete a number of important legal processes such as managing real estate or estate planning. 

Aside from the courts, a number of other entities use affidavits in their day-to-day functions such as:

  • Banks

  • Family law offices

  • Insurance companies

  • The DMV

  • Real estate agents

When to Use an Affidavit Template

An affidavit is necessary when a party needs a sworn statement of the truth. This can be for any purpose either legal or personal.

You may be required to use an affidavit if you are creating any of the following legal forms:

In general, there are many different situations where an affidavit may be practically used. However, some of the most frequent reasons for using this essential legal document are as follows:

  • Divorce: To help settle the assets of each individual spouse 

  • Real Estate: To establish cases of property transfer

  • Debt: Clarifying the level of debt and the circumstances that have led to it

  • Court cases: To provide evidence in an ongoing criminal or civil case

How to Write an Affidavit

Like any authoritative legal instrument, it is important to follow some formal rules when writing a document of this type. There are several parts of an affidavit that must be included. These are as follows:

  1. A statement from the affiant whereby they swear an oath of truthfulness for the information contained within the affidavit

  2. The key information that the affiant is swearing to be true

  3. The affiant’s signature

  4. The formal attestation of an official who may administer oaths (e.g. a notary public)

If you are writing an affidavit for yourself or on behalf of another person, it is important to remember the following writing tips:

  • Write in short sentences

  • Avoid excessive legal jargon 

  • Organize your thoughts carefully on paper

  • Keep the document as short as possible

  • Avoid ambiguity

  • Check the document carefully for any spelling or grammatical errors

Lying on an Affidavit

One of the most important factors about an affidavit is that it must tell the truth. Lying on this kind of legal form can lead to many negative legal ramifications.

As the document is legally binding once signed and is done so under oath, anyone caught lying on an affidavit can be tried for perjury.

Therefore it is important to be absolutely sure that any claims made on this kind of legal document are true before signing it.

Sign and Notarize an Affidavit

When signing an affidavit, it is necessary to also notarize the document. If you’re signing the document you must visit a notary public and observe any witnessing requirements of your type of affidavit in order for it to be legally valid.

Part of an Affidavit

How to File An Affidavit

Once you’ve created your affidavit form with all the information required and have had it signed and notarized it can be put into use. This requires filing the document with the company or government agency that requires your sworn statement.

Filing your affidavit will normally be a requirement if your statement is being used in court or during an eviction process. To do this, you must visit your local courthouse and present the document and any other legal paperwork required to progress your case. 

Below, you can access a sample form to begin the process of writing and filing your affidavit.

Affidavit Sample Form

An affidavit can be crucial to complete a legal process and must be completed correctly. To avoid issues when filling in and customizing your own document take a look over our affidavit sample form before you start.

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Affidavit Sample

Affidavit FAQs

Affidavits are highly important documents in a number of different processes. To find out more about how and when they can be used browse our FAQs below for a better understanding of these forms.

How to Get an Affidavit Form?

An affidavit form can be completed 100% online. Using our online template and form customization tools you can create your own affidavit in minutes from home without paying expensive lawyers fees.

Are Affidavits Legally Binding?

Yes, once an affidavit has been signed it is legally binding. There are strict penalties if you lie on these forms as it is considered perjury, and getting caught doing this can even result in jail time if the case is serious enough.

Who Are the Parties in an Affidavit?

The most important party that appears on an affidavit is the signatory (known as the affiant). However, some other parties may appear such as the third party whose information is being confirmed by the affiant. These may include authorizing individuals such as notary publics, court officials, or other government representatives who may legally administer an oath.

Do I Need a Lawyer to Create an Affidavit Form?

Normally, a lawyer would be called upon to create an affidavit form for a witness or client. This is not obligatory, although it is recommended in certain situations such as court proceedings. However, for personal and family matters, there are more options such as online document builders which may prove cheaper and easier than hiring a legal professional.

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Affidavit Sample

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Preview of your Affidavit

IN THE CIRCUIT COURT
________________

_________ County, Alabama

______________
Plaintiff
-vs-
______________
Defendant

______________
(Case ID Number)
AFFIDAVIT
I, _________, of _________, in _________ County, Alabama, being duly sworn, deposes and affirm upon oath:
1. _________.

STATE OF Alabama
COUNTY OF _________

SUBSCRIBED TO AND SWORN BEFORE ME, this ______ day of ____________, ______.

Signature ________________ (Seal)
NOTARY PUBLIC
My Commission expires: ____________
  

________________

(Signature)

_________

    
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