What Is An Affidavit?

  • An affidavit is a document containing sworn written statements made by an individual, called an affiant, declarant or deponent. The affidavit is sworn under an oath or affirmation administered by a legally authorized witness known as a commissioner of oaths or a notary public. Once the affidavit is executed and notarized or commissioned, the document is a sworn affidavit that can be treated as evidence in court.

What Is An Affidavit Of Execution?

There are various types of affidavits. A common type includes an “affidavit of execution” which is often used in real estate transactions and wills and estates procedures. An affidavit of execution is signed by a witness who attests that the:

  • signing procedure occurred in correctly complied with manner.
  • witness knows the deponent who signed the original document (such as a will);
  • document signing occurred freely and voluntarily by the deponent; and lastly
  • deponent understands the contents of the original document.

Affidavits of execution can become important legal documents in court proceedings. For example, during probate, if someone challenges the validity of a will, the judge may ask the commissioner or notary who signed it to testify under oath that the signing procedure of the will was correctly followed. The process is a serious one and not just a “rubber stamp”.

Types of Affidavits

Apart from an affidavit of execution, other types of affidavits need swearing regularly. For example, these include affidavits of:

  • Name change – used when an individual marries or divorces, this document proves a legal name change;
  • Financial disclosure – employed in divorce proceedings where spouses officially reveal all their assets and debts to divide property and calculate child/spousal support;
  • Insurance loss claims – used to prove a loss (actually called a proof of loss form) to an insurer, such as a stolen vehicle;
  • Surviving joint tenant – transfers ownership where a right of survivorship exists;
  • Marital, common law or separation status – employed in family law matters;
  • Death – used to notify a bank or a court that a person has passed away if it is impractical to obtain a death certificate; and lastly
  • Service – employed in litigation that needs a sworn testimony to prove that a person received a specific document.

Some affidavits have other documents or records attached to it called exhibits which can include contracts, text messages, photos and pay stubs. Exhibits serve as evidence to support the contents of an affidavit.