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Sometimes telling the truth isn't enough—you need to swear to it, in writing. An Affidavit is the legal way to swear that your statements are fact. You'll sign an Affidavit document in front of a notary public to finalize it. If you've been asked for an Affidavit, you're being trusted to tell the whole truth—and nothing but.
Use an Affidavit if:
You have been asked to make a declaration or statement of fact under oath as part of a contract or legal process.
You want to ask someone else to make a declaration or statement of fact under oath.
Legal promises aren't just made in court rooms. An Affidavit can be signed anywhere there's a notary public. You might be asked to sign one as part of a contract. Or maybe you're involved in a legal process. Luckily, this doesn't take long — and you can go to any notary public you choose. After all, it's one thing to say something's true. It's another to swear it and sign to it. Or maybe you need someone to sign a formal sworn statement for you. You can't be too careful. We'll make it quick and easy to get the facts on paper, signed and dated, so you can move forward.
Common types of Affidavits:
Affidavits can be used for many different reasons, but they all share a common trait: the person singing is making a declaration, under oath, that what’s in the affidavit is true. Here are some of the more common types of affidavit and what they’re used for.
Affidavit of Birth: In the event you can’t locate your birth certificate, this affidavit can be used to verify some of the facts surrounding your birth. Typically, this affidavit form will be completed by one of your blood relatives or the attendant midwife or physician. This person will state their relationship to you, how they have knowledge of your birth circumstances, and attest to the pertinent information (such as county and date of birth).
Affidavit of Name Change: If you go by a name different than your birth name but haven’t gotten around to officially changing it through the court, use an affidavit of name change. Typically, another person (most often your spouse or a blood relative) will sign this and swear that you use a name different from your what’s on your birth certificate.
Affidavit of Financial Support: Most commonly used while sponsoring an immigrant to the United States, this affidavit form simply states that the signer will be financially responsible for the incoming immigrant. The names and addresses of both parties are commonly included with the sponsoring party’s signature.
Affidavit of Heirship: In the event that someone passes away without a will, an Affidavit of Heirship can be used to insure that the deceased’s heirs and next of kin gain control of his or her property. Generally, this affidavit will need to be witnessed by people who don’t stand to benefit from the deceased’s estate and it can be instrumental in avoiding the often costly and lengthy probate process.
Affidavit of Death: This is a fairly straightforward affidavit, usually handled by an estate administrator. It’s used to notify creditors, the court, and businesses that someone has passed away. This allows the executor or estate administrator to do his or her duty in regards to the deceased’s estate.
Affidavit of Domicile: This affidavit is most commonly used by estate administrators and will executors when transferring cash, stocks, or investment assets of the deceased. Banks and accountants often need proof of the deceased’s residence to release this property, while government agencies may use this affidavit to levy certain taxes.
Affidavit of Residence: This legal document simply allows to state your place of residence and is often used right after you’ve moved but haven’t submitted the paperwork to the DMV or other government agencies. You may need it to send your child to a school in your new area, get a parking permit for a busy part of your city, or sometimes, swear to a court or business you actually reside at a certain address. In other words, when you need to prove where you live, use an Affidavit of Residence.
Affidavit of Small Estate: Small estates generally have an easier path through the probate process. You can use this affidavit to inform the court that the estate in question actually qualifies as a “small estate,” which is usually capped around $150,000. Note that residents of New Hampshire, Kentucky, and Georgia should not use this document.
ID Theft Affidavit: In the unfortunate instance your identity is stolen, use an ID theft affidavit to inform creditors, banks, and other businesses. You’ll note the day you became aware of the theft and swear that certain actions, like large purchases, were made by the thief, not you.
These are just a few of the most commonly used affidavits. For a more complete list, you can head to our list of family and personal affidavits. And if you can’t find exactly the affidavit you need, in most cases, a general affidavit form can be used. Just make sure to consult with a lawyer.
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