How to Notarize an Affidavit

By Teo Spengler - Updated June 01, 2017
Woman at office desk notarizing an affidavit

An affidavit is a written statement made under penalty of perjury or signed under oath before a notary public. If your state requires that a particular document be notarized, the notary signs the document and fixes her seal to it in order to notarize it.

What Is a Notarized Affidavit?

An affidavit is a written statement you make under oath. The contents of an affidavit are limited in the same way that testimony is limited. That is, you can state facts about which you have personal knowledge but not information you've merely heard from another person. For example, you can say in an affidavit that you saw Jim give Jane an envelope, but you cannot say that Lucas told you that he saw Jim give Jane an envelope.

Similarly, you should stick to firsthand knowledge in your affidavit declarations. Leave out opinions unless you are an expert who has been asked to give expert opinion testimony. And do not include speculation, like "I saw Jim give Jane an envelope that probably had cash in it."

Affidavits are often used when a witness has personal knowledge relevant to an ongoing case, but that person cannot come to court to testify. Witnesses in court swear to tell the truth before they testify. In an affidavit, you state in the document that you declare under penalty of perjury that it is the truth. A notarized affidavit is one in which you swear the content is true. You sign before a notary public who witnesses you signing it, and then signs it herself and affixes her seal.

How to Notarize an Affidavit?

You can find notaries public in many different types of businesses. Legal offices usually have notaries, as do real estate offices, accountants, title offices and banks. Some government agencies also have notaries. Once you have found a notary public, take the affidavit along with photo identification to the notary's office. The notary may request that you put your name, address, the title of the document and your signature in his notary book.

When the notary tells you to proceed, sign and date the affidavit while he watches. When you are done, he will stamp the document and sign it as well. Generally the notary signs the bottom of the document under these or similar words: "Subscribed and sworn before me this __ day of _ , _."

About the Author

From Alaska to California, from France's Basque Country to Mexico's Pacific Coast, Teo Spengler has dug the soil, planted seeds and helped trees, flowers and veggies thrive. World traveler, professional writer and consummate gardener, Spengler earned a BA from U.C. Santa Cruz, a law degree from Berkeley's Boalt Hall, and an MA and MFA from San Francisco State. She currently divides her life between San Francisco and southwestern France.

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