I need to sign an affidavit or a declaration
- you must not sign the affidavit or declaration before you see me
- you will need to sign the affidavit or declaration in my presence
- if you receive any instructions from the person, lawyer etc who provides the affidavit or declaration, you have to let me see them. The instructions often contain instructions on how the affidavit needs signing and what I should do
Other essential things you need to know when you use a notary
In all the notarial work I do there I things I have to do including:
identifying you. (Click here to find out more)
checking whether you understand the document and whether are willing to sign it and be bound by it. (How do I do this?)
usually preparing a separate document (called a ‘notarial certificate’) which I attach to the document you sign, and then I bind that certificate to the power of attorney and add my signature and seal. (What does notarial certificate contain?).
recording the details of what I have done for you. (Why do I have do this and what does it involve?)
What happens when an affidavit or a declaration is signed before a notary?
Besides, obviously, you signing the affidavit or declaration, you are also asked to affirm as to the truth to the affidavit, declare as to the truth of the declaration. You can also swear on a religious book. You will normally be asked to repeat wording such as the following:
“I [your say your full name], do solemnly, sincerely and truly declare and affirm that this is my name and handwriting and that the contents of this my declaration are true [and that these are the exhibits referred to therein].”
(Where it says “may name and handwriting” I will point in the document where your name is printed and where you have signed.)
Things you should do if you are asked to sign an affidavit or declaration
Here are few things you should check before you come to see me:
- if you write its contents yourself. Check carefully that all the facts are true. For example, if you are asked to state your date of birth and other personal details (such as passport number, tax number etc) make sure what you write is checked against official documents which contain this information.
- if you are provided with a standard form affidavit or declaration. If there is anything which is incorrect or which you do not agree, ask to the person/organisation who provided the standard form affidavit to discuss the changes you wish to make.
For example, if you are purchasing a property in some states of the United States of America, you may be asked to sign a series of affidavits (such as financial solvency, agreement that for (financial) checks, etc being made on you). These are normally all routine type of documents and there only things that change are that addition of your name, address etc. Making changes to them (usually in hand) can sometimes be unacceptable or cause delay later on (when they are passed on to who needs to see them). It is always best to agree any changes you wish to make with the person/company/organisation who has provided the standard form affidavit.
What is an affidavit or declaration?
An affidavit or declaration may seem to be like any other document you sign. But there are some key differences (at least in the United Kingdom).
The main one is that when you sign an affidavit or declaration you are doing the equivalent of going into a court as a witness and swearing to tell the truth. Just as in court, where if you deliberately state something which is not true, you commit an offence (by telling a lie). An affidavit or declaration is the written equivalent of making a statement in a court room.
After I signed an affidavit or declaration I noticed something wrong, but the wording of the affidavit or declaration was supplied by someone else, am I still responsible or liable? Usually the answer is “yes”. The reason is that an affidavit or declaration is a statement made by you and which you have sworn (or affirmed) is true. Just because the wording is provided by someone else does not make any difference.
How do I format (or words do I need to include) in an affidavit or declaration? For wording you need to include in a document to make it an affidavit or a (statutory) declaration click on the links in this sentence. Note: These documents will not provide details of what substantive information you need to include.
What is the difference between an affidavit and a declaration? In England and Wales, an affidavit is a written statement you make which is intended for use in litigation. A declaration (known as a statutory declaration), is also a written statement you make for use but not where litigation is involved.
Do I as a notary deal with statutory declarations which are for use in England and Wales? The usual answer is ‘no’. the reasons are set out in here.