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How to Write an Affidavit in 6 Simple Steps

November 14, 2019

You’re probably familiar with affidavits through shows like Making a Murderer or Law and Order.

The vision of a criminal hunched over a table in a police interrogation room being told to sign the affidavit detailing their crime paints a pretty scary picture of affidavits. The reality is that affidavits are much more common, and much less scary than you’d think.

Depending on where you’re located, you might need to have an authorized affidavit taker witness the creation of your affidavit in person. There are also different rules for what formats are accepted depending on your local courts and laws. Always check what the requirements are where you live before getting started.

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6 steps to writing an affidavit

Because this is a legal document, there is a right way to write an affidavit. Most affidavits can be completed by any person but they must be notarized before they are considered valid. Below is the basic six-step process you’ll need to take to complete your affidavit.

1. Title the affidavit

First, you’ll need to title your affidavit. The title of your affidavit just needs to tell the person reading it what your sworn statement is going to be about. Include both your name and the topic of the affidavit.

Here’s an example of what that might look like:


If your affidavit is being submitted before a court, you’ll need to include the caption of the case in this section as well. Your case caption can be found on any related court documents. It will include the name of the court, county and state, names of all parties involved, and your case number.

2. Craft a statement of identity

The very next section of your affidavit is what’s known as a statement of identity. This is where you’ll include your personal information including your name, age, occupation, place of residence, and any other information relevant to the situation or case.

Here’s an example of what that might look like:

My name is Jane Smith. I am 40 years old, I work as a bank teller, and I currently reside at 140 Maple Lane, Huntsville, Alabama.

This section is used to preface who you are in relation to the facts you’re about to outline. You don’t have to include your life story, but you do need to include any relevant information to the claims you’re making.

For example, if you were writing an affidavit providing an alibi for someone accused of a crime, you would need to include your relationship to that person in your statement of identity.

3. Write a statement of truth

This section of your affidavit is used to swear that your telling of the facts is accurate to the best of your knowledge. A statement of truth is the equivalent of swearing under oath in a courtroom.

Here’s an example of what that might look like:

I, Jane Smith, swear that the information in my sworn statement is truthful to the best of my knowledge and understanding.

Your statement of truth must be in the first person and you need to identify yourself in it. Keep it short and sweet. You’re just acknowledging that you agree not to lie in your affidavit.

4. State the facts

Once you have all of that out of the way, it’s time to state the facts. This section of the affidavit will likely be the longest. There is no certain length this section should be, it’s just important that it includes all the accurate information. Here are some tips you can use to complete this section:

1. Stick to the facts

Avoid injecting your personal opinion or observations into your affidavit. This isn’t the time for you to flex your storytelling skills. You need to keep the facts objective, clear, and concise.

For example, if you’re writing that you saw the accused near the scene of a crime, you would say:

I saw John Doe at 145 Maple Lane around 3 p.m. on the day of the crime.

You would not say:

I saw John Doe fleeing the scene of the crime on the afternoon Mrs. Jones was murdered. He looked nervous and guilty, like he’d done something wrong.

Your only job is to state the facts as you best remember them. Leave the interpretations to the lawyers. When you state these facts you’ll need to provide details such as names, dates, times, and addresses.

2. Outline your facts clearly

Create an outline of everything you remember about the situation and then determine which facts are relevant to your affidavit. Then, arrange them in a coherent manner. One of the best ways to arrange the facts about a situation is in chronological order.

For example, here’s how you might structure a statement:

1. You saw John Doe at 145 Maple Lane around 3 p.m. on the day of the crime.

2. Your neighbor called the police around 3:45 p.m. after discovering the body of Mrs. Jones

3. Police arrived and questioned everyone around 4:47 p.m. that same day

4. When questioned by the police, you told them about a disagreement John Doe and Mrs. Jones had the day before at the neighborhood picnic

Each fact should be its own separate paragraph and you should reference any supporting documents as exhibits within the corresponding paragraph. Number the paragraphs so that it’s easy for the reader to follow.

5. Reiterate your statement of truth

Once you’ve recounted all the facts, you’ll close everything out with another statement of truth.All you need to include is a quick summary that everything you've outlined above is true to the best of your knowledge.

Here’s what that might look like:

I, Jane Smith, once again swear that the information in my sworn statement above is a complete representation of the facts to the best of my knowledge.

This section doesn’t need to be longer than a few sentences. You can tweak the language a bit, but for the most part, you’ll want to keep it pretty similar to your statement of truth at the beginning of the affidavit.

6. Sign and notarize

The final step in completing your affidavit is signing it and having it notarized. You can complete most of your affidavit before having it notarized and witnessed, but don’t sign it until you’re in the presence of a licensed witness or notary. This part must be completed in the presence of a witness.

You’ll be doing more than signing on a single dotted line. You and the notary will need to sign:

  • Any changes or alterations made to the affidavit at the time of notarizing
  • Each page of the affidavit
  • The affidavit itself

If you’ve included exhibits in your affidavit, the notary will need to review and sign those as well. Be sure to bring any related documents to your meeting with the notary. Otherwise, you’ll have to come back and redo the entire process.

In order to have something notarized, you will need a form of official identification, such as a passport or a driver's license, proving that you are who you claim to be. While some states allow for a remote notary, others will require you to have your affidavit notarized in person. Check your state laws before you get your affidavit notarized.

When might you need to write an affidavit?

Most of us are familiar with the concept of an affidavit through television and crime dramas, but the reality is that affidavits aren’t just used for detailing serious crimes. There are a lot of mundane reasons you might be asked to write and sign an affidavit.

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An affidavit is a legal document used to collect the details about an event. No matter what your reason for filling one out, you must be truthful. Knowingly lying on an affidavit is considered perjury and you could face fines or even jail time.

Types of affidavits

The reason you’re writing an affidavit will influence what format your affidavit looks like. There are a lot of reasons you might need to complete an affidavit.

Here are some of the most common types of affidavits:

  • Affidavit of name change
  • Affidavit of death
  • Affidavit of identity theft
  • Affidavit of age declaration
  • Affidavit of inheritance
  • Affidavit of residence
  • Divorce affidavit
  • Child custody affidavit
  • Sworn statement affidavit

This is just scratching the surface of the different types of affidavits. The law is complicated and there are dozens of other scenarios where you might be asked to complete an affidavit. It’s always best to consult a lawyer during this process to ensure you’ve covered your bases.

Honesty is the best policy

And when it comes to completing an affidavit, it’s the only policy! It might seem intimidating to have to write a sworn legal statement, but follow the steps in this guide and you’ll be fine.

Affidavits require varying levels of information and complexity based on the situation they’re being used for. We recommend seeking the help of legal services for completing an affidavit.

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