1. What Is an Affidavit?
2. Uses of an Affidavit
3. Who Can Swear an Affidavit?
4. Perjury
5. Exhibits
6. Notary Public

Knowing how to fill out a business records affidavit is a useful skill for people involved in business. To fill out such an affidavit, follow these steps:

  1. Download an affidavit form that suits your purpose from the internet, or use the one issued by a requester.
  2. Type or write the name of the county and state in which you're signing the affidavit in the appropriate section on the provided form. The entity issuing the subpoena, or the legal order demanding business records, would have already supplied the name of the location from which the subpoena was being issued.
  3. Type or write your complete legal name in the appropriate section, which is usually labeled “custodian's name.” You'll be required to provide an ID to the notary public who will legally certify your signature on the affidavit. Therefore, make sure your given name on the affidavit matches the one on your ID.
  4. Type, write, or print the name of the document(s) you're providing the affidavit for (in this case, a business record).
  5. Visit a notary public to verify your signature and ID.
  6. Affirm the authenticity of the affidavit by oath. The way oaths are worded may differ from one notary public to another. However, the essence of affirmation is to verify that the document is authentic, under penalty of perjury, or lying under oath.
  7. Sign the affidavit on the dotted line, print your name if the form requires it, and present your ID to the notary public for verification. The kinds of oaths that a notary public administers and the kinds of ID that are considered valid are determined by state laws.

What Is an Affidavit?

An affidavit is a documented, sworn testimony witnessed by someone authorized to legally administer oaths. Other definitions of an affidavit are:

  • A statement made under oath
  • A sworn statement of facts
  • A notarized declaration

Uses of an Affidavit

As a general rule, an affidavit is used by an affiant, or the person who makes a declaration within an affidavit, to do the following:

  • Affirm the truth about something, such as the identity of a person, to the best of their knowledge
  • Officially provide evidence in court, such as narrating the events that led to an assault

Though affidavits are used for several purposes, their main use is to affirm the authenticity of information for use in court. In certain cases, a lawyer uses the affidavit of an entity to spare them the inconvenience of appearing in court. Affidavits can save significant money and time in various legal proceedings.

For an affidavit to be valid, it must be signed by someone who is of sound mind. That means a person who is mentally capable of grasping the meaning and implications of the affidavit's content, part of which is the penalty for lying under oath, or perjury.

Who Can Swear an Affidavit?

Usually, people who sign affidavits are older than 18. However, there are no official age limits. That means a minor could swear an affidavit if there's a legal need, for instance, to provide evidence in a family legal proceeding. The essence of swearing an affidavit is to ensure the truthfulness of a declaration, which is why lying under oath is taken seriously by the legal system.

Perjury

The severity of the legal consequences of lying under oath can depend on the legal jurisdiction. However, perjury is a crime. The consequences of falsely swearing an affidavit can be anything from paying a fine to imprisonment. Therefore, it is important to be honest even when legal communications are taking place via affidavits and not in person in a court proceeding. Many affidavits contain the statement that they are signed with the complete acknowledgment of the consequences of perjury, but that language is not always necessary.

Exhibits

It is good practice to attach photographs, documented statements, or other items, or “exhibits," to lend further credence to the information in an affidavit. The attachment can be placed at the end of the document. It is a standard requirement to label each attached exhibit for ease of reference, for example, “Exhibit A,” Exhibit B, and so on.

Notary Public

Typically, a notary will verify your passport, driver's license, or some other ID to affirm your identity before letting you sign the affidavit. It is a requirement for the notary to administer an oath to the person signing the affidavit before it can be signed. Usually, the signing is done in the notary's presence. Some states disallow notaries from charging for their services, while some notaries, in other states, may charge a fee.

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