Notarizing affidavits: Everything you need to know

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Almost everyone gets to sign affidavits at some point in their lives. This could be in the course of business or to settle personal affairs. Either way, it’s imperative to do it right because your credibility and reputation might depend on it.

You might also need to get other types of documents notarized, such as a mortgage, a real estate deed, power of attorney, etc. In various cases, the signatures on these several documents are required to be notarized, depending on the priority and expediency with which the specific document is needed. As a result, it can sometimes be troublesome for the claims agent to verify the witnesses providing the affidavit or the discovery responses—specifically if the person who has to sign doesn’t have easy access to the notary.

This makes it imperative to comprehend what affidavits are, how they are used, and if they can be notarized. This blog post helps you understand affidavits. Let’s explore:

  1. What is an affidavit?
  2. Common types of affidavits
  3. How to write an affidavit?
  4. Does an affidavit have to be notarized?
  5. How to get an affidavit notarized?

1. What is an affidavit?

If you want to affirm or swear that a specific fact is correct, you must transcribe an affidavit statement and get it notarized. But gone are the days when you had to visit the notary in-person to complete the process. These days, the notary and the signee can do the notarization online. In fact, many states now support Remote Online Notarization (RON) for smooth and efficient processes.

Essentially, you can use affidavits for the following reasons.

  • Approve valuable information during court proceedings 
  • Substantiate your relationship with a deceased individual
  • Validate your finances on a request from a judge or a bank
  • Purchase real estate

Affidavits have to be notarized to be approved in court since notarization corroborates that the affiant:

  • Was aware of the document contents
  • Signed the documents in the presence of a notary public
  • Signed the record of their own free will

Affidavits are legal documents or statements an individual makes before a notary when presenting the information. The info must be either based on their belief and information or their knowledge. 

If you create an affidavit on belief and information, you need to mention where you got the data and why you consider it valid. 

Notarization of an affidavit is the formal fraud-deterrent procedure that guarantees that the parties of a particular transaction have an authentic document and can be reliable. It is an extensive process that consists of certifying, record keeping, and vetting. Thus, notarizations are also sometimes called “notarial acts.”

Above all, notarization is an affirmation by an impartial notary public and a duly appointed that a document is validated, that the signatures are genuine, and that the specific signer acted without intimidation or coercion and intended the document terms be in full effect and force.

All U.S. states have their own procedures and rules relating to affidavits. However, often these are inaccurately applied for the lack of a standard language or format required for testimonies/affidavits. The document is approved as long as it follows basic legal requirements.

2. Common types of affidavits

Many several different types of affidavits vary considerably according to the intended purpose. Testimonies/affidavits can be helpful in many scenarios. Many government forms contain affidavits, like vehicle registration, driver’s license applications, concealed weapon permits, and voter registrations.

Here are some of the common affidavit uses/types.

  • Court affidavits. Even though a court trial typically involves witnesses in court to give oral evidence, there may be times where an affidavit may be used in a legal proceeding, such as for supporting written motions or if the witness isn’t able to appear in court.
  • Power of attorney affidavit. Power of attorney is an authorized document signed by an individual, called the principal. This document provides the agent, another person, the power to act on behalf of the principal. However, this control ends if the principal revokes the POA or dies. Therefore, before the third party acts, the agent might need to sign an affidavit declaring that a power of attorney is in effect and that the principal hasn’t revoked a power of attorney or died.
  • Affidavit for self-proving will. This is when the person making a will has their signature notarized. Typically, a will needs two witnesses, at least to the creator’s signature. Conventionally, when the maker passed away, it was essential to have the witnesses appear in court to make the will legal. However, this is deemed valid automatically without the witnesses’ testimony with the affidavit of a self-proving will.
  • Lost document affidavit. If a critical legal document is destroyed or lost, it can often be established again with an affidavit. For instance, you can re-establish a promissory note if it gets destroyed or lost by implementing an affidavit of indemnity agreement and a lost promissory notice. This allows the other party to depend on your assurance and that you will reimburse them in the event of economic losses.
  • Financial affidavit. Financial affidavits verify specific financial info concerning the affiant. For example, these testimonies/affidavits are prevalent in divorce cases, where both parties must verify their debts, expenses, income, and assets. Financial affidavits are also typically used in connection with various financial transactions and estate planning like loan applications.
  • Identity theft affidavit. If an individual has been an identity theft victim, they might need to provide an affidavit to certify the theft to credit bureaus, banks, and creditors.

3. How to write an affidavit?

Based on where you are located, you may need to get a verified affidavit taker to observe the forming of the affidavit in person. There are also diverse rules when it comes to accepted formats depending on your law and courts locally. Therefore, always look over what the specific requirements are as per your particular location before getting started.

As long as the affidavit is witnessed, signed, and appropriately notarized, it is considered valid. So, you don’t need to consult a legal professional to create an affidavit. All you need is the presence of a notary to create a legally-binding document.

However, it is crucial to note that detailed affidavits need specific information to meet legal requirements and fulfill their purpose. 

Because these are legal documents, there is a proper way to formulate an affidavit. You can complete most affidavits by, but you need to notarize them before they are deemed valid. Below is a fundamental process that you will need to complete in order to write an affidavit.

Here are some essential elements of a standard affidavit:

  • Begin with a heading. If an individual doesn’t have an open case, the headers may say “Affidavit of (name)”. Otherwise, there’ll be a case heading that includes the court’s name, the case number, and the names of the defendants and plaintiffs. Once the general title or the case heading, the state and country where one will be signing the affidavit should be mentioned
  • The first section should mention the affiant and that they swear that the said account of events is correct and accurate to the best of their information
  • The subsequent paragraphs typically each contain a fact. Once each point should be written in adequate detail
  • Finally, the notary section is where they add their name and the signature 
  • Bear in mind that signing the affidavit means that you swear that the facts in the document are correct and true

An affidavit isn’t written in paragraphs like an article or a business document. It’s a legal document wherein each section is numbered and contains a single fact. To ensure that the testimony is easy to understand, here are some best practices:

  • Avoid using legal language as much as possible in the affidavit
  • Keep affidavits as concise as possible
  • Make sure your views are in the proper order and organized if you are connecting your actions in a particular event
  • Proofread the affidavit for grammatical and spelling errors
  • Don’t use inflammatory language

Also, remember that the affidavits demonstrate your credibility, so those mentioned above can help you become more professional and not harm your reputation. Therefore, make sure you don’t make any false statement in an affidavit, as it’s technically a violation of law and can cost you a hefty amount.

4. Does an affidavit have to be notarized?

No, not all affidavits have to be notarized.

While some types of affidavits require notarization, others don’t. It depends on the state and country’s legal requirements. For example, if you reside in Louisiana, “wills” are notarized to be valid. However, laws keep changing over time, so make sure you are aware of the latest information.

So it depends on the rules of the jurisdiction. So, for example, there are many types of affidavits and documents that don’t require notarization, and jurisdictions have different rules. 

You can also notarize a self-proving affidavit that is attached to a will.

5. How to get an affidavit notarized?

In recent years, advancements in technology have helped automate and streamline the notarization process, resulting in more states making laws to support e-notarization online between Notaries and signers. However, with the government imposing COVID-19 restrictions and asking to limit in-person contact and practice social distancing protocols, it is essential to find a way to notarize their wills, property deeds, real estate transfer paperwork, and affidavits. Remote Online Notarization is the answer to finish the entire notarization process online.

Now, with RON, witnesses and signers are no longer required to be present in the same room or even the state as the notary. Because of interstate recognition practices, you can use a remotely notarized document in other states like a traditional notarization.

Essentially, Remote Online Notarization (RON) enables banks, individuals, law firms, and other companies to connect with a notary via the internet. Verified online notaries can help you notarize electronic documents.

Online notarizations facilitate a more convenient and modern option for individuals who require notary services. The RON convenience also extends to the notary/authorized person.

Scheduling a signing becomes simpler when all the parties don’t need to be in the same room. The participants can quickly agree on the time and a day that works best according to everyone’s schedule, irrespective of their location.

Some of the benefits of Remote Online Notarization (RON) include:

  • Enables you to perform online notarizations without traveling
  • Improves efficiency and streamlines the signing process
  • Minimizes fraud risk with practical credential analysis and identity proofing 
  • Connects you with customers who prefer to do business remotely
  • Offers additional security; digital documents can be damaged, stolen, or lost
  • Provides complete your notarizations’ digital records
  • Eliminates paperwork

PandaDoc Notary, an all-in-one Remote Online Notarization software, offers various features that make notarizing effortless. So if you dread mobile notaries and public notaries’ fees, PandaDoc Notary presents a convenient, seamless and budget-friendly solution to help you notarize affidavits online.

Here is how you can notarize an affidavit.

  • Step 1. While notarizing affidavits, make sure that the signer is present before you via audio-visual technology.
  • Step 2. Check the document to ensure it has no information or blanks that were altered or whited out. If any rectifications were made or had to be made, make sure to verify them.
  • Step 3. Corroborate the signer’s identity. Require the respective signer to present a government-issued ID form, such as a passport or a driver’s license.
  • Step 4. Ensure that the signer acts willingly.
  • Step 5. Finish the notarization appropriately. 
  • Step 6. The notarization process is recorded in the electronic notary journal.

Wrapping up

While affidavits are primarily used in court settings, they can serve many other purposes as well. For example, affidavits can save you considerable money and time in various legal proceedings and events. And a notarized affidavit allows you to authenticate the document. So, the sole purpose of notarizing testimonies is to prevent any document fraud and or identity theft.

A feature-rich software like PandaDoc Notary is user-friendly and straightforward, empowering your team to manage document notarization workflows and work more seamlessly.Be mindful of the specific requirements for notarization in your respective jurisdiction to ensure that your affidavits are valid and reliable.

Guy Pearson has been a commissioned notary for more than seven years. He also runs one of the most established Facebook groups for Remote Online Notarization (RON), with more than 7000 members nationwide. Guy is the co-founder and product leader of PandaDoc Notary. His team drives product initiatives in key verticals, such as Legal, Financial, and Real Estate.