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Legal Affidavit Questions

According to the The Free Dictionary, an affidavit is “a written statement of facts voluntarily made by an affiant under an oath or affirmation administered by a person authorized to do so by law.” An affiant is an individual who knows and understands the facts under contestation and who has the intellectual competence to take an oath or make an affirmation. Since an affidavit is considered a voluntary statement, a court cannot force anyone to make an affidavit.

Listed below are a few questions answered by business lawyers on issues related to legal affidavits.

What is an affidavit?

A sworn statement that is made under oath is known as an affidavit. Usually this statement needs to be signed in the presence of a notary public and notarized by a notary. However, certain court proceedings could allow for something other than an affidavit to suffice as a sworn statement. In federal cases, you can have a declaration attested to under penalties of perjury instead of an affidavit.

Can two people sign an affidavit?

In general, it is possible for two people to sign an affidavit if they are both named in the affidavit and are swearing to the same set of facts. However, cases can differ and the specific details may determine whether two people can and should sign an affidavit.

Where can I go to have my affidavit notarized?

You could either visit a bank or an attorney’s office to get your affidavit notarized.

In Texas, can an affidavit be put on legal paper 8 ½” by 14”?

According to the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, the pleadings need to be made on 8 ½” by 11” paper. Any affidavit that is attached to the pleadings has to be of the same size. There is no mention in the rule about other the required size of documents besides the pleadings and attached affidavits.

Also, the rules of the Appeal Court say that anything else filed, other than the record, needs to be on 8 ½” by 11” paper. Tex. R. App. P. 9.4.

Can a client represent himself and give an affidavit to the jury if he has no money to hire an attorney?

An individual can represent himself. Irrespective of whether the individual is represented by an attorney or not, the rules of evidence will not differ. However, if the individual is represented by a lawyer the court doesn’t need to allow the individual to also question witnesses.

I work as a subcontractor and sign affidavits whenever I get paid. Recently, a client I worked with wanted to pay me partially for my work because they said that their client was not fully satisfied with the work. But they wanted me to sign an affidavit that said "paid up to 100%". Should I sign the affidavit, take the partial amount and fight for the rest later?

Signing the affidavit could work to your disadvantage. It would be seen as an Accord and Satisfaction of a disputed amount owed and you couldn't claim it back from the client once the affidavit is signed.

“Accord and Satisfaction” is a concept in contract law that deals with the purchase of the release from an obligation from debt. The new payment will normally be lower than what is owed under the original contract and isn’t paid based on the performance of the original contractual obligation. Therefore, the “accord” becomes the agreement to dismiss the original obligation while the “satisfaction” becomes the legal “consideration” that will end up binding all concerned parties to the contract.

Public officers who are authorized by law to administer oaths and affirmations can take affidavits. Generally, all affidavits must contain the affiant’s address, the date on which the statement was made, the place where the statement was made, and the signature of the affiant. All the contents of the affidavit need to be true and accurate and the affiant is strictly responsible for this. In the event that false statements are made, the court can prosecute the affiant for perjury.
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