What are sworn affidavits?
From time to time, you will hear people refer to a “sworn affidavit”. The odd thing is that all affidavits are sworn or at least attested to in some manner.
(From the Latin “he has declared under oath”) an affidavit is a written statement of fact voluntarily made by an affiant under oath or affirmation which is administered by a person who is authorized to do so by law. This is part of the purpose of a notary. They can identify the person properly and swear them to tell the truth. Also, they can verify the mental capacity of the person to make the sworn statement.
An affidavit is made under oath on penalty of perjury and this serves as evidence for its veracity and is required in court proceedings.
Affidavits may be written in the first or third person, depending on who drafted the document.
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The document’s component parts are typically as follows:
- a commencement which identifies the “affiant of truth”,  generally stating that everything in it is true, under penalty of perjury, fine, or imprisonment;
- an attestation clause, usually a jurat at the end certifying that the affiant made oath and the date;
- signatures of the author and witness.
If an affidavit is notarized or authenticated, it will also include a caption with a venue and title in reference to judicial proceedings. In some cases, an introductory clause, called a preamble, is added attesting that the affiant personally appeared before the authenticating authority.
Affidavits can be used to attest to the authenticity of a document such as medical records, corporate documents, or can be witness statements and even used to support a criminal prosecution. Often where we use them in our type of cases is for the parents of a minor child to swear in a petition as to the circumstances of the injury of the child and the child is getting a fair settlement, etc.
So, the next time you hear “sworn affidavit” just remember that it just means “affidavit”.
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