An affidavit is essentially a written statement from someone that’s sworn to be true. The contents reflect the personal knowledge of the individual making the statement. Courts often use affidavits as evidence in legal proceedings, such as in divorce proceedings, debt cases and property disputes.
It is possible to create an affidavit without a lawyer. Anyone can write and sign an affidavit as long as the person is mentally competent enough to swear an oath, to tell the truth. You can download a template of an affidavit online at Net Lawman and fill out all the relevant details before getting the document notarised.
Here’s what you need to include in an affidavit.
- An affidavit title
You must start your affidavit with a title that captures what it is about, such as “Affidavit of …. Under the title include the name and location of the court. If a court case is involved, you should include the case number, title of the case and names of the defendant and plaintiff.
- A statement of identity
After the title and caption, you need to give your personal details. This will include your name, gender, age, place of residence and occupation. For example, you may write “I am Joe Smith. I am a 37-year-old male, I work as an accountant, and I currently reside at 15 Tottenham Court Road, London, England.” If the affidavit is going to be used in a court case, include your relationship to the litigant.
- A statement of truth
You need to swear that you are telling the truth to the best of your knowledge. This is like swearing under oath in a courtroom. Keep it short and sweet and it must include your name and be in the first person.
- Statement of facts
This will be the longest section but there is no specific length as long as it includes all the relevant information. You have to write your account of events or facts as they happened and try to avoid personal opinions.
You should write in plain English, rather than trying to use any legal jargon. Use the first person “I” and then outline all the essential facts in chronological order.
Each fact should be in a separate paragraph and you can number the paragraphs.
Other documents, such as receipts, bank statements or photos, may need to be referenced in your affidavit. You need to label them with numbers in the sequence in which you reference them in the affidavit.
- Reiteration of a statement of truth
This quickly summarises what you’ve outlined above as true to the best of your knowledge. For the most part, it is quite similar to what you stated at the beginning of the affidavit.
A solicitor, public notary or commissioner for oaths has to sign and witness the affidavit with you for it to be valid. You can prepare an affidavit ahead of time but you must only sign it in the presence of the official who is doing the notarising. Read over your affidavit to make sure all the details are correct before you sign it.
It must have a date and both parties must sign each page as well as any changes made at the time of notarising. If it is not properly signed, it is incomplete, and won’t be admissible in court.
If you don’t tell the truth in an affidavit, you are guilty of perjury which is a serious matter when it comes to the law. You can be penalised if you give false or misleading evidence under oath.