An affidavit is a sworn, written statement that can be used in various transactions, including legal proceedings, to provide assurances of certain facts. Common situations where such documents are used include real estate sales to verify the ownership of property, for creditors on loan documents, or even simply to attest to a birth or death. In Florida, you may use a general affidavit form to quickly and easily provide proof to another party.
You can find many examples of a general affidavit form for a formal sworn statement online, but it's important that you pay attention to any special requirements your state may have. In Florida, this includes swearing to the veracity of your statement in front of a notary or other state official authorized to administer oaths, such as judges, clerks, or deputy clerks.
How to fill out a general affidavit form
While there is no set general affidavit format in Florida, there are certain pieces of information that tend to appear on most general affidavit forms. These include information about the affiant, or person making the affidavit, including their name and address, age or birthdate, other identifying information (sometimes their occupation, if pertinent), and the date and location (city, county, and state) of signing.
The affidavit's content depends on the reason you are executing it, but generally you should write a first-person recitation of facts to the best of your knowledge. A general affidavit statement may begin with language such as: “I, the undersigned, being duly sworn, do hereby state under oath and under penalty of perjury that the following facts are true."
The rest of the affidavit should include the information to which you are attesting. Any missing or incomplete information could leave the document open to legal challenges, so be careful that you complete the form in full while still being concise enough to not confuse issues.
Notarizing the affidavit
A critical part of the affidavit process is getting the document notarized by a notary public, a process that satisfies the “sworn" part of an affidavit. In Florida, you must appear in person in order for the notary to verify your signature, which means you should not sign the affidavit until you are in front of the notary. Bring identification such as your driver's license or passport so the notary can verify you are the person named in the affidavit.
A notary in Florida may either attest to the veracity of the content of the statement itself when the affiant has taken an oath or given affirmation to the notary regarding its truth, or the notary may only confirm that the signature belongs to the affiant, which may apply if you are simply signing an application or other document. However, the notary usually also attests to the veracity of the statement itself based on your sworn affirmation.
It is important to note that even a properly notarized Florida affidavit isn't bulletproof against lawsuits or other claims against your or your business. Still, having a signed, sworn statement that will better stand up to court scrutiny is to your advantage should litigation arise.