What is a New York General Affidavit?
A New York General Affidavit is a form used by an individual to certify that a statement they are making is true. Such forms often need to be notarized in order to ensure that no fraud is committed and that all parties involved, both the party that is asking for the affidavit and the person filing the affidavit, are assured that the statements being made are, as sworn under oath, completely true. A person writing an affidavit is called an Affiant.
Affidavits play an important role in several legal and financial proceedings, up to and including:
- Divorce court
- Property disagreements
- Debt disputes
- Confirmation that legal documents have been received
- To report the loss of important legal documents that must be replaced
- To notify a party of a proceeding of changes
- Residency verification
- Name change verification
- To confirm the identity of a victim of identity theft
These situations require affidavits to be filed in order to avoid fraudulent information and scams, and ensure that all information surrounding transactions is true. Filing an affidavit legitimizes the claim made by the person filing it, meaning that they are not only fully aware of all information that has been written into the affidavit, but they are taking an oath that everything that has been stated is 100% true and honest.
Because of this, affidavits are important as documents that provide facts about the issue or person(s) involved that can be reasonably assumed to be true, which will then be examined and argued in order to reach a reasonable conclusion and judgment according to the information provided.
For example, in the case of damage to one’s property, the owner of the said property may file an affidavit stating the events that took place that led to their property being damaged, and how much the damage to the property will cost to repair or replace. This information will be assumed to be true when the matter is brought to the necessary authorities, which may be the Affiant’s insurance provider or a court depending on the actions pursued.
As part of ensuring that an affidavit is valid as a truthful statement, affidavits must be notarized by a notary public. A notary public’s purpose is to ensure that all parties involved in the creation of the affidavit are aware of the information within, and that the correct person or persons are providing their signatures on the document.
Intentionally providing false information, or in other words lying, on an affidavit can have heavy legal consequences. As affidavits are statements that are made under an oath to be truthful, lying in one is considered an act of “perjury”. Perjury refers to the legal offense of intentionally lying after having taken an oath to say the truth.
An example of perjury would be, to use the earlier example of an affidavit filed to claim property damage, if the Affiant claims that their property was damaged by the actions of a particular person, and that they witnessed that person damaging their property. If that person did not actually damage the property in question, and is able to prove their innocence beyond all reasonable doubt, the Affiant will not only be unable to claim any benefits or otherwise that would help them cover the costs of repairing or replacing their damaged property, but they would also face legal consequences for lying about witnessing their property being damaged on their affidavit.
Legal consequences for perjury can vary in severity by state and depending on the will of the judge involved, but generally speaking a heavy fine and jail time for up to five years are common punishments for perjury. Some professions, especially those that value truthfulness like law, law enforcement, and some public service jobs and government positions, may even revoke a perjurer’s license to continue their practice, or leave them with a reputation that would make continuing to practice their work extremely difficult due to the stain on their professional and personal reputation.
Perjury is a rare crime to be convicted of, but it exists as a deterrent for people making false statements.
Who needs a New York General Affidavit?
A New York General Affidavit may be used in a wide variety of situations in the state of New York. Such situations may include:
- Property disputes and disagreements
- Reception or Loss of important legal documents
- Debt disputes
- Divorce proceedings
There are many other possible situations where a person may be asked to provide an affidavit to legitimize a particular statement.
How to fill out a New York General Affidavit?
A New York General Affidavit is a very simple form to fill out. It is, however, highly important to remember that, in signing the affidavit and having it notarized, you claim that the statement you write on the affidavit is true to the best of your knowledge.
Contact a Notary
Find and contact a Notary Public. As part of the requirements to enlist the services of a Notary, you must bring a valid I.D. and the New York general affidavit form to be filled out. You must bring the document itself as the Notary must witness you swearing on oath that the statement you are writing on the affidavit is true and signing the document.
Enter the county of New York that the affidavit is being written, signed and notarized in.
Name of the Notary
Enter the name of the Notary
Date of Signing
Enter the day and date that the document was signed.
Name of Affiant
Enter the full name of the Affiant (the person writing the affidavit).
Method of Swearing Oath
Enter here whether the Affiant swore a written or verbal oath to the Notary.
Enter the Affiant’s statement here. You may use a separate sheet of paper as needed.
Make absolutely sure that the statement is true to the best of the Affiant’s knowledge. They may wish to consult their attorney before entering a statement.
Affiant’s Signature and Name
Have the Affiant enter their signature and full name in the space provided.
Date of Notarization
Enter the day and date that the document was notarized.
Have the Notary enter their signature and full name in the space provided. A Notary may also instead use a stamp.
Enter the date that the Notary’s commission expires.
Make sure to pay any fees associated with enlisting the services of the Notary.
Tips when filling out a New York General Affidavit
Affidavits are very important documents that require the signature of both a Notary and the Affiant. It is important to keep your affidavit safe and ensure that they are sent to the necessary places through safe and trustworthy means in order to avoid identity theft or alterations being made to the document that may frame a person as having sworn to something untruthful or wrong.
Legal counsel is not always necessary when writing an affidavit, but depending on the situation it may be beneficial to consult a legal professional to make sure that the statement being made is correct and legally sound.
Notaries are not legal counsel. While a Notary may be a legal professional themselves, their primary purpose is to prevent fraud and to confirm that you are making the statement under oath of your own free will. If you need legal advice, consult another legal professional.
Practice good contract management. Keep an extra copy or two of the accomplished affidavit in a safe and organized area for future legal purposes, or as a backup in the event that something happens to the original.