What Is an Affidavit?

What Is an Affidavit?

By Charles Joseph | Editor, Financial Affairs
Reviewed by Corey Michael | Senior Financial Analyst

An affidavit is a written statement from an individual which is sworn to be true. It is an important document used in legal proceedings. Essentially, an affidavit serves as evidence, similar to what a person might say in court. Affidavits provide information relevant to a case under oath. Used primarily during court cases, the affidavits include detailed information attesting to personal experiences or circumstances relevant to the case. The person creating the affidavit, known as the affiant, must sign the document, which has been notarized by a notary public, indicating they affirm that the information provided is true.

Related Questions

1. What’s the purpose of an affidavit?

An affidavit serves many purposes, but primarily, it’s a way to present facts within a legal context. It provides written evidence of assertions from a first-person perspective and strengthens the validity of arguments or claims in court. It’s also used for verification purposes like confirming identity or marital status.

2. How is an affidavit different from a declaration?

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While affidavits and declarations both serve the purpose of giving factual information or evidence, the main difference lies in the way they get verified. An affidavit requires a notary or a public officer’s signature, while a declaration does not. Declarations are made under penalty of perjury, meaning the one providing the information confirms its truthfulness without needing further validation.

3. Is an affidavit legally binding?

Yes, an affidavit is a legally binding document. By signing an affidavit, the affiant is swearing under oath that the information provided is true and accurate. Providing false information in an affidavit can result in serious penalties, including perjury charges.

4. Who can witness an affidavit?

The individual who can witness an affidavit is a notary public or a commissioner of oaths, depending on the jurisdiction. These individuals are authorized to validate and confirm the authenticity of the signature and the statements in an affidavit.

5. Can affidavits be corrected?

Yes, corrections can be made to an affidavit. This process usually involves creating a new document, known as an ‘affidavit of correction’. This document outlines the changes to be made and must also be notarized. The original affidavit and the affidavit of correction are then used together as one legal document.