How to Start an Affidavit

By Valerie Stevens
Two people are signing a contract.

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An affidavit is a written statement that you swear to, in the presence of a notary public or someone else authorized to administer oaths. To start an affidavit, identify its purpose and make it clear you swear your statement is true and know lying could be punished as perjury.

Identify Affidavit With Title

While some affidavits are documents prepared from scratch, others are prepared using fill-in-the-blank forms. Forms generally have a title at the top, but if you draft an affidavit yourself, you need to identify it with a title, such as "Affidavit of Jane Doe." An affidavit presented as part of a lawsuit bears the legal caption of the case, such as the names of the parties to the lawsuit, location and name of the courthouse, and case number, which can be found on any document already filed with the court.

Swear to Tell the Truth

An affidavit must contain a sentence establishing that you are making the statement under oath: For example, "I, Jane Doe, swear under penalty of perjury that the following is true and correct." This statement often goes at the beginning of the affidavit, but it can go at the end. Either way, you should state your name at the beginning of the affidavit and briefly explain how you know the facts disclosed in your statement. If you are giving a statement about someone who's involved in the lawsuit, for example, state how you know that person.

About the Author

Valerie Stevens is a professional writer and editor based in the Carolinas. She was an editor at daily newspapers for 20 years and now works as a paralegal. She has edited several books and her work has been published in The Knoxville News-Sentinel, The Springfield Daily News, The Georgetown Times and Natural Awakenings magazine. Stevens holds degrees in journalism and paralegal studies.

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