a sworn testament used in a court of law to certify that the specified fact is accurate and true.
How an Affidavit Works
An affidavit can be a legal document that shows that you have vowed to tell the truth and can be charged to court for perjury if the fact turns out to be a lie. The primary purpose is to prove that a claim or fact is entirely accurate. An affidavit is used chiefly in the following cases:
- To prove that you are related to a dead person
- To show your financial status to a judge or bank
- When you are called to appear before a court due to a lawsuit against you
- When purchasing a real estate or landed property
- Sharing of properties to the beneficiaries of your last testament
Even though there are various types of affidavits, a signed affidavit must contain the following.
- Affiant: the person responsible for signing the document and saying that the information is accurate under oath.
- Affirmation: the written claim or statement which the affiant must agree to be accurate.
- Witnesses: Third parties must be impartial and formally prove that the affiant signed the affidavit before them.
- Notary Public: an individual holding a public position that must sign the affidavit to certify that the affiant's oath and claim are accurate.
- Attachments: any extra document that helps to prove the sworn statement in the affidavit.
Real World Example of Affidavit
There are many types of affidavits, and each one is used for a different purpose. A small estate affidavit helps to speed up the process of sharing deceased properties to beneficiaries. This type of affidavit is done during the last testament or will, and once the court verifies it, there is a quick transfer of properties of the deceased to its new owners. Someone would use this when the property left behind by the deceased is relatively small. A financial affidavit proves your financial information, including your debts, expenses, and total income.
Some other examples include an affidavit of death. If a deceased leaves unfinished business, the deceased's family or lawyer uses an affidavit of death to complete the unfinished task. Continuing with the deceased's affairs, an affidavit of heirship helps prove that an individual is related to or is the heir of a deceased relative. When this is done, properties of the deceased are distributed quickly to beneficiaries.
If you can think of it, there's probably an affidavit for it. No matter if it's an affidavit of residence, service, domicile, title, identity, or a gift affidavit, they all must be signed, witnessed, and notarized. For instance, if I need to prove I'm related to my deceased grandmother, I'd bring all the necessary documentation, a witness (a spouse, friend, family, etc.), and sign the paperwork in front of a notary.
Importance of an Affidavit
An affidavit has much importance, but there are some major ones. No matter your legal needs, you can always find an affidavit that suits it perfectly. It can be cases relating to property ownership, distribution of properties belonging to a deceased, or proving an identity. An affidavit helps save money and time because it prevents you from going through lengthy and stressful legal processes. Court and legal institutions also prefer affidavits because it allows them to solve some cases faster. It also shows the court that a statement is believed to be true.