What Is an Affidavit?


Quick Answer

An affidavit is a written statement by a person called an affiant that is witnessed and sworn to by a legally authorized public officer, such as a notary public, according to The Free Dictionary. An affidavit is a voluntary written record of an affiant's personal knowledge made without any cross-examination.

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What Is an Affidavit?
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Full Answer

Affidavits are used in legal, business and administrative proceedings to present or establish evidence of a person's knowledge or beliefs, as The Free Dictionary explains. Judicial affidavits are used in trials and other legal actions, but they are generally considered a weak type of evidence because the affiant is not subject to cross-examination. If a witness is available to testify, an affidavit is not admissible except to challenge the witness's testimony or help them recall information.

There is no standard format for an affidavit, but it must contain the affiant's address, the affiant's signature and the date when the statements are made, according to The Free Dictionary. If an affidavit contains statements pertaining to beliefs and information, it must note the affiant's sources and grounds so that a court can draw its own conclusions about the information in the affidavit. There are no restrictions on a person making statements in an affidavit other than competency. Those who are legally authorized to administer an oath or affirmation may take an affidavit within their jurisdiction.

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