How to Write an Affidavit: Format, Template & Sample

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  • 0:03 Definition of Affidavit
  • 1:15 Formatting an Affidavit
  • 5:42 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Deona Cureton

I have taught honors English in high school, have an BA in Political Science and English, Master's in Educational Leadership & Policy Studies, and completing my PhD in Public Administration & Policy with a concentration in Law & Public Policy

In this lesson, you'll learn what an affidavit is and how to write one. Once you have your facts gathered and organized, you can reference the included sample template to create your own affidavit.

Definition of Affidavit

It's Thursday night and ABC's show Scandal is on! Olivia Pope begins grilling her client to find out what exactly happened on the night in question. She tells her client to write it all out in his affidavit. Your heart is racing because you know he's lying...but wait, what exactly is an affidavit?

In this lesson, you will learn what an affidavit is and how to format one. You'll also review a sample template that can be used to construct an affidavit. So what is an affidavit? An affidavit is a statement about facts that are given under oath by the court of law. Affidavits are normally used in court proceedings or government agencies. They are normally given before law enforcement officials or before notaries (people who put the official stamp on a document to say it's legitimate). If a person were to give false information in his or her affidavit, that person (or affiant) would face criminal charges for perjury, which is when a person gives a false statement while they're under oath. For example, consider a criminal case where an eye witness states in her affidavit that she specifically saw the person on trial commit the crime. If it's later discovered that the eye witness lied on the stand about what she saw, she has committed perjury.

Formatting an Affidavit

Use the following instructions to help guide you through the process of writing an affidavit:

Step 1: Decide what the title of your affidavit will be.

If the affidavit is a statement given under oath, then the name and address of the individual giving the information or testifying must be included in the title. For example, Affidavit of Jane Doe. If the affidavit is being completed while in the courthouse and under oath, the following must be listed as well:

a) Court house name and level (Example: Forsyth County Courthouse, Superior Court)

b) County (Example: Forsyth County)

c) State (Example: North Carolina)

d) Name(s) of individuals involved (Example: Jane Doe, Witness; John Smith, Defendant; Jason Smith, Plaintiff)

e) Case number (Example: Case Number 940010000)

These items must be listed at the top of the affidavit as well and are known as the caption.

Step 2: In the first paragraph of the affidavit, put the name and personal background information of the person giving the information.

The personal background information should include the following:

a) His or her address (Example: Jane Doe, 123 Alphabet Street, Winston Salem, North Carolina, 27110)

b) Name of place of work and address (Example: Wake Forest University, 1834 Wake Forest Road, Winston Salem, North Carolina, 27109)

c) Age or date of birth (Example: 36; July 8, 1981)

d) Occupation (Example: Professor)

e) Immigration status (US Citizen or immigrant) (Example: US Citizen)

f) Relationship of the individual giving the statement to any of the individuals involved in the case (Example: Witness in case)

Step 3: Write an opening sentence in the first person tense.

In the sentence, the person writing the statement must state that he or she is stating that the information is accurate. (Example: I, Jane Doe, solemnly swear that the contents of this document are true and correct, and that I agree to abide by the terms in this affidavit.)

Step 4: Make an outline of the information given or state the facts of the case.

Then figure out, from the facts listed, which facts are needed and which ones are not. Once you determine which ones are needed, arrange the facts so that they flow well and make sense. Facts are normally organized based upon the timeline of events.

For example:

A) I was driving my car down a well lit two-way street

B) I saw a green truck ahead of me speeding

C) The green truck jumped over the median in the middle of the road, to my left, and went into traffic

D) The green truck struck Plaintiff, Jason Smith, as he was crossing the street, and

E) When the green truck was trying to get away, I saw the driver's face and it was the Defendant, John Smith.

Step 5: State each fact in paragraph format, one paragraph at a time.

Number the paragraphs so it will be easier to identify the time frame of the events for the courts.

For example:

1) I was driving my car down a well lit two-way street

2) I saw a green truck ahead of me speeding

3) The green truck jumped over the median in the middle of the road, to my left, and went into traffic

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