An affidavit is a written sworn statement of fact voluntarily made by an affiant or deponent under oath or affirmation administered by a person authorized to do so by law. Such statement is witnessed as to the authenticity of the affiant's signature by a taker of oaths, such as a Notary Public. The name "affidavit" is Medieval Latin for he has declared upon oath
. An affidavit is a type of verified statement or showing, or in other words, it contains a verification, meaning it is under oath or penalty of perjury, and this serves as evidence to its veracity and is required for court proceedings. Not all affidavits require a Notary Public for execution.
An affidavit that will be presented as evidence in a court of law should be notarized because the Notary Public verifies the following:
- that the affiant (person making an affidavit) is who he says he or she is;
- that the affiant took an oath or affirmed under penalties of perjury that the statements contained in the affidavit is the truth, to the best of the affiant's knowledge and belief;
- that the date of the signing and oath/affirmation is correct.
If, for example, the affiant is a witness, the notarized statment will be useful to you in your court case. If the witness later changes his or her story, you can use the affidavit to show that the witness isn't credible as he or she swore to different facts before. This will usually get the witness impeached. In addition, if the witness admits that he or she lied in the affidavit taken before a notary public, perjury charges could be pressed against the witness.
A Notary Public is a public servant commissioned to perform certain official acts prescribed by law. A knowledgeable Notary Public can be very useful to you, especially if you have a court case pending.