Affidavits are a powerful form of evidence that lawyers use to strengthen their cases. However, depositions are expensive, and memories fade over time. An affidavit is a perfect document for capturing someone’s testimony while upholding legal integrity.
In the post below, we’ll show you how to write an affidavit that is right for your situation:
What Is a Written Affidavit?
Written affidavits are written statements made under oath by a person known as an affiant. Criminal and civil proceedings most often use affidavits during cases. Affidavits typically include affiant identification, statements of attestation, a statement of an oath, and evidentiary attachments.
Here is an article that also defines what a written affidavit is.
How To Write an Affidavit – Step by Step
You can approach the affidavit writing process in several ways. Most affidavits are relatively short and less than one page in length. Some are more detailed and may comprise of several pages and sections.
Here’s a step-by-step process for how to write an affidavit whether you need a short or long-form template:
Step 1. Determine the Type of Affidavit You’ll Need
Affidavits differ according to the affiant’s needs. Search online for the type that’s correct for your situation. The affidavit titles will tell you which type of document it is.
Types of affidavits include:
- Affidavit of domicile : An affidavit of affidavit establishes the residency of a deceased person. Probate courts generally use these affidavits.
- Affidavit of heirship : An affidavit or heirship proves heirship for transfer of assets. You file this affidavit in the county court where the decedent died.
- Affidavit of marriage : An affidavit of marriage is a sworn statement that two individuals are married. It also suffices when no marriage certificate exists.
- Financial affidavit : This affidavit serves as an acknowledgment or attestation of your financial affairs. Family law courts use them to make alimony and child support determinations.
- Testimonial affidavits : This affidavit is for sworn testimony to an event. Private practice lawyers typically use this type of document for witnesses.
Step 2. Fill Out the Date
Dates are essential for any legal document. The dates are helpful to those handling them. They also establish critical facts that make a difference in a case.
Step 3. Specify the County of Filing
You should always state the county and the specific courthouse where you’re filing the affidavit. This step ensures that court clerks process them correctly. Add this information at the top of the document.
Step 4: Add Your Name and Relevant Details
The next step is to introduce and formally identify yourself in the affidavit. Include the following information in this section:
- Your full legal name
- Your date of birth and age
- Relationship to other parties
- Mailing address
- Physical address
- County of residence
State this information accurately. If you falsify any information on an affidavit, courts classify it as lying under oath . Keep this essential point in my throughout the legal drafting process.
Step 5. Make Your Attestation
Making an attestation is the next step. This statement is a short paragraph. It acknowledges that you’re making a factual statement.
Attestations serve as the beginning of your factual account. You can write your affidavit from the first-person perspective.
Make a rough draft of the event by which you’re swearing and avoid making conjecture. Stick to the information that you know. Otherwise, you can face legal consequences if someone proves your affidavit false.
Step 6. List Evidence You Have Speaking to the Facts
Supporting documentation is the underpinning of any legal case. Your attestation should include evidence that proves what you’re alleging. Speak with a lawyer if you have questions as to whether the available evidence is admissible.
Examples of evidence include:
- Accident reports
- Financial statements
- Letters and emails
- Contracts and agreements
- Videos and photos
- Police reports
- Personal journals
- Other forms of evidence
Then, you’ll want to attach your evidence to the back of the affidavit. If you’re not presenting evidence, then you can move on to the next step without attaching anything.
Step 7. Summarize Your Statement (Optional)
Short affidavits (less than one page) don’t need a summary. However, longer, more formal ones may need to summarize the information for future reference. This practice is merely good form and a matter of preference.
Step 8. Insert a List of Your Attachments
Remember the evidence you attached to the affidavit? Give each document a practical name. Compile each document name into a list and attach it to the bottom of your affidavit.
If you don’t have attachments, then you can skip this step.
Step 9. Write an Oath Statement
An oath statement is another legal acknowledgment. It typically states that you recognize state laws and accept the consequences of lying under oath. Essentially, you’re assuring the court that you’ve made an honest statement.
Step 10. Sign and Notarize Your Affidavit
After printing your affidavit, don’t sign and date the document yet. Bring valid identification to a notary public’s office and obtain their seal. A notary public will only notarize a copy if you sign it in their presence.
Otherwise, you’ll have to reprint the document and return to their office for signing at a later time.
What’s Typically Included in an Affidavit?
Every affidavit and affidavit type is unique. However, they all primarily contain the same information.
The following parts are typically included in an affidavit:
- Identification of the affiant
- Statement of attestation
- Statement of oath
- Summary of attestation
- List of exhibits and attachments
- Signature and date lines
- Notarial section
Here is an article that also describes what’s included in an affidavit.
Examples of Affidavits
Sometimes, a concrete example can help us understand a legal document’s use better. Below, we’ve created an example of how an affidavit would work for an insurance company facing a lawsuit:
- Michael was an eyewitness to a car accident a few months ago
- Plaintiff, Toby, filed an injury claim against the at-fault driver
- Toby hires a lawyer to help him settle with the insurer
- The insurance company investigates with their in-house lawyers
- The insurance company’s lawyers review the evidence and find out that Michael was an eyewitness
- Michael’s formal statement claims that he saw the plaintiff texting while driving
- Michael also says that the plaintiff engaged in distracted driving at the time of the accident
- This information could help the insurance company’s case against the at-fault driver
- The insurance company’s lawyers ask Michael if he would sign an affidavit
- The affidavit would confirm that Michael is offering this information under oath
- Under oath testimony, such as an affidavit, is robust evidence
- Michael agrees and signs the affidavit
While the hypothetical injury case above is just one example, you can utilize an affidavit when you need to speak to the facts. Since memories fade, affidavits are a perfect tool for capturing someone’s testimony in a quick, cost-effective manner.
How To Get an Affidavit
You can get an affidavit in several ways. Some people use online templates to get the job done. However, it’s worth noting that affidavits are not legally binding written contracts or signed contracts .
Instead, they’re sworn statements that you make to courts or governing bodies. This assertion means that they’re serious business. Depending upon your needs, ensure that you hire contract lawyers , family lawyers , or estate planning lawyers to help you handle the drafting process.
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