At one point or another in the course of conducting common personal and business affairs, everyone is required to sign some type of affidavit.
First of all it is important to understand about affidavits and how they are used. An affidavit is a promise statement of fact that can be used in a variety of legal proceedings.
The legal significance of affidavits.
Everyone who has watched a TV shaw about lawyers, from Perry Mason to Boston Legal to Bull,has seen courtroom witnesses swear to “tell the truth”.
A lawyer often says to the witness “I remind you that you are under oath”.If the witness lies on the witness stand ,they can be prosecuted for the criminal offense of perjury.
An affidavit is the written version of declaring under oath to tell the truth, just like you were testifying in a courtroom.
The affidavit is signed by both the affiant who is the person making the statement, and a notary public of certain court and government officers who is legally authorized to administer an oath.
If an affiant is signing an affidavit that contains false information then the court gives criminal penalties to the affiant.
So,before signing an affidavit, it is very important to read the document carefully to ensure that the information is accurate and truthful.
The opinion or belief of the affiant, needs to be clearly stated, If the affidavit contains any statements of the affiant.
Common Affidavit Uses
Affidavits can be useful in many situations. Many government forms include affidavits, such as driver’s license applications, vehicle registrations,voter registration and concealed weapon permits.
Some common types of affidavits are :
1.Court Affidavits :
A court trial generally involves witnesses appearing in court to give oral testimony, but there may be situations in a legal proceeding where affidavits are used when a witness is not available to appear in court.
2.Self-proving will affidavit
When the signature of a person making a will is notarized at that time self-proving will affidavit is prepared.
A will requires at least two witnesses to the creator’s signature. Generally, when the maker died,in order to make the will valid, it was necessary to have the witnesses testify in court.
But with a self-proving will affidavit, without the testimony of the witnesses the will is automatically deemed valid.
3.Affidavit of Power Of Attorney
A Power Of Attorney (POA) is a legal document signed by one person known as the principal, that gives another person, the agent, the authority to act on behalf of the principal.
However, if the principal dies or revokes the power of attorney then this authority ends. Before a third party acts in belief on a POA, the agent is required to sign an affidavit by stating that the power of attorney is currently in effect and that the principal has not revoked the POA or not died.
4.Financial Affidavit :
Financial affidavit verifies definite financial information relating to the affiant. In divorce cases,financial affidavits are common, where each party must verify their assets,debts, income and expenses.
Financial affidavits are also used in connection with estate planning and loan applications where various financial transactions are carried out.
5.Affidavit of lost document :
If a vital legal document is lost or destroyed,then it can often be re-established with an affidavit.
For example, if you are owed some money under a promissory note that has been lost or destroyed, it may be possible to re-establish the note by executing an affidavit of lost promissory note and indemnity agreement.
This allows another party to rely on your understanding that the note existed and that you will refund the other party in the event of any economic loss due to your promise.
6.Affidavit of Identity Theft :
If you have been the sufferer of identity theft, you may need to provide an affidavit certifying the theft to beneficiary, banks and credit agency
There are four parts in the basic form of an affidavit.
- A statement that the affiant is declaring under oath to the truthfulness of the information which the affidavit contains.
- The information that is being sworn to
- The signature of the affiant.
- The documentations of a notary public or other official authorized to administer oaths.
A majority of affidavits use forms created by the court, lawyers or financial institutions.
If you are in a divorces case, you must have to use financial affidavit forms provided by the court.
The lender will provide any necessary affidavit forms, if you are applying for a loan.