Affidavits are documents that contain information that you swear to under oath. Some affidavits are fill-in-the-blank forms that you complete during legal transactions, such as when you transfer property or apply for a mortgage, while others are personal statements to be used as evidence in court hearings. To complete an affidavit, include only first-hand information that you know is accurate, then have it notarized by a notary public or someone else authorized to administer oaths.
Include Accurate, First-Hand Information
Whether you are completing a form affidavit or writing an original one to provide testimony in court, the contents of the document must be true and you must swear to this under penalty of perjury. If you lie on an affidavit, you could face fines, jail time or both. If you are filling out a form affidavit to apply for government assistance, for example, you must list all of your income, even money you receive from a family member. In drafting an affidavit for a lawsuit that describes events you witnessed, include only first-hand knowledge of what took place and not what someone else told you.
Sign Affidavit in Presence of a Notary
Affidavits must be sworn to and signed in the presence of a notary public or another person authorized to administer oaths, such as a court clerk or magistrate. You can complete the affidavit form or prepare your written statement on your own, but do not sign it until you are in the presence of the notary when you will swear that you are telling the truth in the document. An affidavit should include words that verify that you are swearing under oath, such as "I certify under penalty of perjury that the preceding -- or following -- statement is true and correct."