'Affidavit' is explained in detail and with examples in the Laws & Regulations edition of the Herold Financial Dictionary, which you can get from Amazon in Ebook or Paperback edition.
An Affidavit is a declaration in writing which includes a sworn oath or positive confirmation that written contents are factual and true. These declarations and statements could be made related to court cases. They also could be made to support an important document as with mortgage applications or tax returns.
Though many people may not be aware of it, a great number of forms prove to be affidavits. This is because they have a line that states the individuals have filled in the form to the best of their knowledge. The line must also mention that deliberately entering information that is incorrect will lead to perjury charges. If a person is found guilty of perjury charges, it can lead to significant time spent in jail.
The word affidavit is originally taken from the Latin. The Latin roots signifies that individuals have pledged their faith with complete knowledge of the law. It is interesting that affidavits are always voluntarily undertaken documents. This means that no parties in a court case are able to make a person give such statement under oath. Courts can force individuals to give deposition accounts. Depositions differ from an affidavit. They may both be statements that are written, but depositions will be cross examined in a court.
Affidavits must involve knowledge that is personally known by the individual who declares them. This means that persons who do not include information of which they were unaware will not be punished or deemed to be in perjury. Personal knowledge can cover a person’s opinion too. In such cases, the statement must be unequivocally stated to be opinion instead of a known fact. Any individual is allowed to provide an affidavit if he or she maintains the necessary mental ability to comprehend how serious the oath given actually is. This is why guardians of mentally ill patients are able to provide such an affidavit on their behalf.
These documents are generally formally witnessed by a qualified official such as a notary public or an account clerk. Notaries are agents who receive a small fee in exchange for witnessing the signing of legal documents for individuals, as with mortgage forms or real estate transactions. This witness signing the document means that the person pledges that the information is accurate and realizes how important this oath is. Documents like these can be utilized in court as evidence. They can also be submitted alongside supporting materials with various kinds of transactions, including for social services.
Individuals who sign affidavits should be extremely careful that they read the documents several times, especially if another individual is recording them. This is because the documents are oaths which are legally binding. The statements contained within must be correctly and clearly related. When the signor recognizes errors in the document, as with facts on a mortgage application, these need to be corrected in advance of signing. This is more important than the inconvenience it will cause the officials who have written down the information and who are witnessing the signing and oath that accompanies it.