An affidavit is a document that verifies or certifies that a person’s statement is true and legally enforceable. These are used when proof is required of a person’s statement, claim, or other information. Affidavits are used in a variety of contexts and legal situations.
A valid affidavit usually contains:
- Listing of information of the person making the statement or declaration
- Information regarding other parties involved
- The statement or declaration itself
- Signatures (i.e. the person making the statement, notaries, witnesses, etc.)
- Dates, locations, and other important information
Affidavits are commonly used in situations involving small estates that pass outside of probate.
What Are Affidavits Used for in Estates Law?
In an estate law setting, affidavits can be used to:
- Verify that a person is the executor of an estate
- Testify to the amount or value of a particular asset
- Verify the identity of a beneficiary or recipient of a distribution
- Confirm various pieces of information contained in a person’s will
- Inform another party of a move or change of residence
Confirm that property is being transferred (this is often necessary in cases where the transfer is done in a way that avoids probate processes)
Basically, any situation that might require documentation can benefit from an affidavit. It’s important that affidavits be written clearly and carefully, so as to avoid confusion and legal issues in the future.
Can You Prepare Your Own Affidavit?
Sometimes, people can prepare their own affidavits. However, in most cases, it’s best to hire a professional such as a lawyer to help when it comes with the drafting of an affidavit. The affidavit needs to be legally sound and must follow all state and federal requirements. Also, the person will be making statements that may be binding and can create situations where they are liable or responsible for certain duties.
The person will be testifying that the entire statement is true. Thus, many people rely on a professional for help when it comes to drafting or editing an affidavit.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with an Affidavit?
Affidavits can involve some complex legal issues and can also create serious responsibilities for the person making the statement. You may wish to hire an estates attorney if you need help with an affidavit or other sworn statement. Your attorney can provide you with guidance and advice to help ensure that your statement is legal and valid. Also, your lawyer can represent you in court if you need to undergo litigation.