Download Affidavit Templates
What is an affidavit?
The definition of an affidavit is a written statement sworn under oath to be the truth. Every person will have to sign a personal affidavit at some point.
Affidavits have the following functions:
- An Affidavit of Fact states the facts of a situation.
- An Affidavit of Truth is used in motion court proceedings.
- An Affidavit of Identification can be used in place of an ID Document.
- An Affidavit of Nativity can be used in place of a Birth Certificate.
It is perjury to intentionally lie in an affidavit. Perjury is a criminal offence that could carry a prison sentence.
How to write an affidavit
An affidavit is not complicated. The most important thing when it comes to writing an affidavit is that your statement is in point-format. It is, therefore, best to write a typed affidavit.
The wording of an affidavit is in the following format:
- Write the heading “AFFIDAVIT”.
- State your name and personal details (i.e. ID number, gender, address, contact details, etc.).
- State that you are making a declaration under oath (i.e. “I, the undersigned, declare the following under oath”).
- Write the facts in a numbered list.
- Include a statement of truth (e.g. “I affirm that the contents of this declaration are true and correct according to my personal knowledge”) and spell out the oath.
- Create a signature block (with “date” and “place”) for the affiant and the Commissioner of Oaths.
You can also download the following South African affidavit templates/samples:
The affidavit must be signed in the presence of a Commissioner of Oaths. Initial each page of the affidavit (and any annexures) and sign in full on the last page.
Where to get an affidavit signed
An affidavit must be signed in the presence of a Commissioner of Oaths (i.e. a notary) in South Africa – who will also sign the document.
In terms of section 10 of the Justices of the Peace and Commissioners of Oaths Act, 1963, a Commissioner of Oaths may not administer an oath or affirmation if he has an interest in the matter. In other words, the Commissioner of Oaths must be impartial to the subject matter of the affidavit and should not be influenced by its content.
By law, a Commissioner of Oaths cannot charge for administering an oath. There are several Commissioners of Oaths who can sign an affidavit in South Africa, including:
- The South African Police Service (SAPS)
- A lawyer/notary
- The Commissioner of Oaths at the post office
- Some banks offer notarial services to their clients
Lawyers/notaries may charge a fee for drafting the affidavit. When drafting your own affidavit, you can request any Commissioner of Oaths to sign the affidavit for free. Some SAPS stations may insist that you write your statement of fact on a blank SAPS affidavit form. A typed affidavit is, however, generally preferred.
Types of affidavits
Affidavits are used for a great variety of reasons. Some of the more commonly used affidavits include:
- General Affidavit: A declaration, under oath, that certain facts are true. Used in business dealings, personal affairs or court cases.
- Affidavit of Estate: Affirms the value of the estate of a deceased who died without a will.
- Affidavit of Heirship: Attests the names of the beneficiaries of the estate of a person who died without a will.
- Affidavit of Residence: Proves the address of someone.
- Affidavit of Name Change: Proves that you have changed your name (mostly used when people get married or divorced).
- Affidavit of Support: Used in immigration proceedings to show that someone will financially provide for an immigration applicant.
- Financial Affidavit: Used in divorce proceedings to affirm the value of the affiant’s assets. The court needs this information to divide the assets and determine spousal and child support.
- Affidavit of Death: To inform a third party of the death of someone when the Death Certificate is not obtainable.
- Identity Theft Affidavit: To notify creditors and credit bureaus that your identity has been compromised.
- Affidavit of Service: Confirms that specific documents were received by an individual.
- Bulk Transfer Affidavit: Used in business to list creditor claims against a business – especially in the case of bankruptcy.
- Affidavit of Real Estate: Used in real estate transactions.