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8 December 2021

What is an affidavit?

You may have been asked by a foreign jurisdiction to provide an affidavit signed and witnessed by a notary public. Woodcock Notary Public explains what an affidavit is, and how we can assist you in properly executing this sworn statement.

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

What is an affidavit?

An affidavit is a written declaration or statement of facts that a person swears under oath to be true. 

An affidavit must satisfy legal or statutory requirements, and be sworn or affirmed before a person who has the authority to witness or administer an oath, such as a notary public.

Did you know?

The word “affidavit” originates from medieval Latin in the mid-16th century – affidare, meaning literally ‘he has stated on oath’.

Examples of circumstances which need affidavits

  • Divorce proceedings
  • Property disputes
  • Inheritance disputes
  • Cases of debt
  • Visa applications that need to be made without essential documents
  • Qualifying solicitors

What does the execution of an affidavit entail?

First, the affidavit needs to be drafted in the correct format as required by the intended country.

Then, the author writes a true and accurate statement of the facts, as understood to be true by themselves.

The notary public serves as the witness to the signed oath. This confirms that the person making the oath and signing the document is the same person who has been recorded as offering the affidavit.

Why use a notary public?

Our notary public, alongside your lawyer in the received jurisdiction, will ensure that your affidavit is executed correctly and that it has the best chance of being accepted in the intended foreign jurisdiction.

It may be less costly to have an affidavit signed by another individual with the power to witness an oath, such as a solicitor or commissioner of oaths. However, this means that your document may not be recognised overseas, as only a notary public is authorised to witness documents meant to be used abroad (except in very few circumstances).

Our notary public, Nathan Woodcock, is a member of The Notaries Society and is regulated by The Faculty Office of the Archbishop of Canterbury. This means that you can be assured of our professionalism and trust us with your important documents.

In most instances, foreign institutions will not accept a signature
from a solicitor or commissioner of oaths, and a notary public’s signature and seal is required.

Drafting services

We can assist with drafting your affidavit, and advise on exhibits to include in the bundle. 

Depending on the intended country, it may be necessary to include an exhibit/ appendix/ addendum alongside your affidavit. This may be a document or proof that references something said in the affidavit. 

Apostille & Legalisation

Some foreign jurisdictions require an affidavit to be apostilled by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, and/or legalised by an embassy. 

A document can only be legalised or issued an apostille if attested by a notary public. Once we have performed the notarial act, we can assist in getting your documents apostilled or legalised. 

Upon completion by the FCDO, we can further process the documents if required via any Chamber of Commerce, Embassy or Consulate. Then, we can either return the documents to you or arrange a courier on your behalf. 

We advise against using DIY legal websites

It is always best to have your notary public consult with your solicitor to ensure that your document meets your unique requirements. 

Many online sources offer free templates, but this comes with an array of potential disadvantages. 

  • Are the document template and the requirements up to date?
  • Is it fit for purpose?
  • Will the intended foreign jurisdiction accept it?
  • Are they getting your personal information and collecting your private data? Will they pass it on to third parties? Can they be trusted? The answer is usually “no”.

READY FOR ASSISTANCE?

If you have any questions about our notary, apostille or consular services,
contact Woodcock Notary Public today.

Call us on 0800 049 2471 or email info@woodcocknotarypublic.com.

If you have any questions about our notary, apostille or consular services, contact Woodcock Notary Public today.

Call us on 0800 049 2471 or email info@woodcocknotarypublic.com.