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What is an Affidavit?

An affidavit is a document that is significant because it contains the truthful and voluntary statements of the affiant, or the person who signs the document. There are limited requirements for what has to be within the contents of an affidavit. In many jurisdictions, an affidavit needs to have the affiant’s name as well as physical address within its contents. The affidavit must also be signed by the affiant, as well signed by witnesses and a notary public. The basic content of an affidavit is usually limited to only what the affiant knows to be true as a result of experience or direct observation. It is also necessary to remember that, by definition, the affidavit is a statement given voluntarily. This means that an individual cannot be forced required to place his signature on an affidavit by another party or a judge.

Most states in the U.S. require that an individual swear under an oath that the statements within the affidavit are true prior to signing the affidavit in front of a public official who has the authority to take oaths or in front of a notary public. An individual who lies about the content within an affidavit may be sued for perjury and can also be subject to the sentence given to others who lie under oath if he or she is convicted of perjury. Any person who is eligible or allowed to take an oath in a court is typically entitled to make an affidavit as well. Doing so means that the affiant is aware of the affidavit contents, the importance of the oath and the consequences for it.

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