Start My Answer

Affidavit — A Definition

Sarah Edwards | November 18, 2022

Sarah Edwards
Legal Expert
Sarah Edwards, BS

Sarah Edwards is a professional researcher and writer specializing in legal content. An Emerson College alumna, she holds a Bachelor of Science in Communication from the prestigious Boston institution.

Edited by Hannah Locklear

Hannah Locklear
Editor at SoloSuit
Hannah Locklear, BA

Hannah Locklear is SoloSuit’s Marketing and Impact Manager. With an educational background in Linguistics, Spanish, and International Development from Brigham Young University, Hannah has also worked as a legal support specialist for several years.

Summary: An affidavit is a legal document containing a sworn statement that certain facts related to a case are true. There are several types of affidavits, and this type of document is used in most types of litigation. Affidavits of debt are supposed to serve as proof or evidence in a debt collection case, but they can be misleading at times. SoloSuit can help you respond to a debt collection case and win in court.

Affidavits are a common type of document used for legal purposes. In a civil or criminal case, a lawyer may ask a plaintiff, defendant, or witness to sign an affidavit guaranteeing that the facts they gave are accurate and true. Affidavits are standard in family law and bankruptcy cases, though they may also appear in other types of cases.

What does an affidavit include?

All affidavits must contain specific elements to meet the legal system’s validity requirements.

An affidavit begins with a title to describe the document's purpose. The title will include the signing individual’s name and the court case number pertinent to the testimony, if there is one.

Affidavits include a statement of identity, which lists identifying information about the person making the statement. Identifying information typically includes details like their address, age, occupation, or specific details about them that relate to the case.

For instance, someone declaring bankruptcy may sign an affidavit including information about their debts, like the creditors they owe and the amount of each obligation.

All affidavits include an oath, where the person swears in writing that the information given is accurate to the best of their knowledge. If any of the statements they write are false, a law enforcement officer can charge the individual with perjury.

Finally, the person signing the affidavit must do so in front of a witness. If the affidavit references any documents, the documents must be signed by the witness or notary, too.

Some courts require affidavits to include additional information, depending on the jurisdiction and purpose of the document.

Can individuals prepare their own affidavits?

It depends. In general, people can prepare their own affidavits. However, if a person decides to prepare their own testimony, they must comply with the court’s instructions. Some courts require the person to compose an affidavit in its entirety before a witness.

Individuals who prepare an affidavit on their own must ensure they completely understand the information given and don’t make any errors. Mistakes can result in someone being unintentionally liable for something they didn’t mean to say.

Is it better to hire a lawyer to prepare an affidavit?

Yes, in most cases, it’s best to hire a lawyer when preparing an affidavit. A lawyer can help the individual fully understand the affidavit's contents before signing it.

Since an affidavit is essentially the equivalent of agreeing to an oath in court, the person should have a complete comprehension of the terms of the testimony and how it may impact them in legal proceedings.

A lawyer can also ensure that the affidavit complies with the local court’s rules. They’ll be familiar with the requirements for the affidavit’s contents and can eliminate the potential for a mistake.

If an individual’s reason for needing an affidavit is complex, it’s best to seek a lawyer’s advice instead of trying to handle it independently.

What are the various types of affidavits?

There are numerous types of affidavits, and they’ll differ depending on the kind of case they concern.

Estate law commonly uses affidavits for wills and trusts. For instance, a small estate affidavit is helpful when someone dies without a will. The person who signs the small estate affidavit will identify the deceased individual's assets so that a court can decide how to distribute them.

Someone who changes their name, like through marriage or after a divorce, may need to sign an affidavit. For instance, a credit card lender or mortgage loan provider may ask for confirmation of your name change through an affidavit.

Residence is another common reason for an affidavit. A school may require that you sign an affidavit concerning your residence before allowing you to enroll your children. Sometimes, you may need to provide a testimony of your residence for tax purposes.

Affidavits are also typical in criminal cases like identity theft. If you believe someone stole your identity for financial gain, you’ll need to attest to the theft to your creditors.

The affidavit prevents someone from falsely claiming their debts are the result of identity theft. If the investigation later uncovers that the individual falsely claimed identity theft, law enforcement can charge them with perjury, among other things.

Are all affidavits notarized?

In most cases, it’s best to have an affidavit notarized. In many jurisdictions, notarization is a requirement. Having an affidavit notarized ensures that the courts accept your document.

Notarization also prevents potential identity theft or fraud. You don’t want someone signing a statement in your name that you haven’t given.

What is an affidavit of debt?

Like most affidavits, an affidavit of debt is a sworn document that is filed into a debt collection lawsuit to certify that the information listed in the Summons and Complaint is accurate and true.

The FDCPA has closely scrutinized the filing of affidavits in debt lawsuits. There is a debate over whether debt collectors and creditors should be required to attach an affidavit of debt to a Complaint when the case is initially filed, and whether it is up to FDCPA or state courts to determine the validity of an affidavit of debt.

Some affidavits of debt are considered misleading, especially when filed by a debt collector who has inherited ownership of the debt from the original creditor. The idea is that many collectors submit affidavits of debt which only represent the records of the original creditor, which cannot be truly authenticated by the debt collector.

If you have been sued by a debt collector who has filed an affidavit of debt supposedly validating the debt you owe, try responding to the case with an Answer document to fight back.

With the right response and defense, you can beat debt collectors in court. SoloSuit can help you draft and file an Answer to a debt collection lawsuit in all 50 states.

Check out this video to learn more:

What is SoloSuit?

SoloSuit makes it easy to fight debt collectors.

You can use SoloSuit to respond to a debt lawsuit, to send letters to collectors, and even to settle a debt.

SoloSuit's Answer service is a step-by-step web-app that asks you all the necessary questions to complete your Answer. Upon completion, we'll have an attorney review your document and we'll file it for you.

Respond with SoloSuit

Get Started

>>Read the FastCompany article: Debt Lawsuits Are Complicated: This Website Makes Them Simpler To Navigate

>>Read the NPR story on SoloSuit. (We can help you in all 50 states.)

How to answer a summons for debt collection in your state

Here's a list of guides for other states.

All 50 states.

Guides on how to beat every debt collector

Being sued by a different debt collector? Were making guides on how to beat each one.

We have answers

Join our community of over 40,000 people.

You can ask your questions on the SoloSuit forum and the community will help you out. Whether you need help now are are just look for support, we're here for you.

Get Started

Win against credit card companies

Is your credit card company suing you? Learn how you can beat each one.

Going to Court for Credit Card Debt — Key Tips

How to Negotiate Credit Card Debts

How to Settle a Credit Card Debt Lawsuit — Ultimate Guide

Get answers to these FAQs

Need more info on statutes of limitations? Read our 50-state guide.

Why do debt collectors block their phone numbers?

How long do debt collectors take to respond to debt validation letters?

What are the biggest debt collector companies in the US?

Is Zombie Debt Still a Problem in 2019?

SoloSuit FAQ

If a car is repossessed, do I still owe the debt?

Is Portfolio Recovery Associates Legit?

Is There a Judgment Against Me Without my Knowledge?

Should I File Bankruptcy Before or After a Judgment?

What is a default judgment?— What do I do?

Summoned to Court for Medical Bills — What Do I Do?

What Happens If Someone Sues You and You Have No Money?

What Happens If You Never Answer Debt Collectors?

What Happens When a Debt Is Sold to a Collection Agency

What is a Stipulated Judgment?

What is the Deadline for a Defendants Answer to Avoid a Default Judgment?

Can a Judgement Creditor Take my Car?

Can I Settle a Debt After Being Served?

Can I Stop Wage Garnishment?

Can You Appeal a Default Judgement?

Do I Need a Debt Collection Defense Attorney?

Do I Need a Payday Loans Lawyer?

Do student loans go away after 7 years? — Student Loan Debt Guide

Am I Responsible for My Spouses Medical Debt?

Should I Marry Someone With Debt?

Can a Debt Collector Leave a Voicemail?

How Does Debt Assignment Work?

What Happens If a Defendant Does Not Pay a Judgment?

How Does Debt Assignment Work?

Can You Serve Someone with a Collections Lawsuit at Their Work?

What Is a Warrant in Debt?

How Many Times Can a Judgment be Renewed in Oklahoma?

Can an Eviction Be Reversed?

Does Debt Consolidation Have Risks?

What Happens If You Avoid Getting Served Court Papers?

Does Student Debt Die With You?

Can Debt Collectors Call You at Work in Texas?

How Much Do You Have to Be in Debt to File for Chapter 7?

What Is the Statute of Limitations on Debt in Washington?

How Long Does a Judgment Last?

Can Private Disability Payments Be Garnished?

Can Debt Collectors Call From Local Numbers?

Does the Fair Credit Reporting Act Work in Florida?

The Truth: Should You Never Pay a Debt Collection Agency?

Should You Communicate with a Debt Collector in Writing or by Telephone?

Do I Need a Debt Negotiator?

What Happens After a Motion for Default Is Filed?

Can a Process Server Leave a Summons Taped to My Door?

Learn More With These Additional Resources:

Need help managing your finances? Check out these resources.

How to Make a Debt Validation Letter - The Ultimate Guide

How to Make a Motion to Compel Arbitration Without an Attorney

How to Stop Wage Garnishment — Everything You Need to Know

How to File an FDCPA Complaint Against Your Debt Collector (Ultimate Guide)

Defending Yourself in Court Against a Debt Collector

Tips on you can to file an FDCPA lawsuit against a debt collection agency

Advice on how to answer a summons for debt collection.

Effective strategies for how to get back on track after a debt lawsuit

New Hampshire Statute of Limitations on Debt

Sample Cease and Desist Letter Against Debt Collectors

The Ultimate Guide to Responding to a Debt Collection Lawsuit in Utah

West Virginia Statute of Limitations on Debt

What debt collectors cannot do — FDCPA explained

Defending Yourself in Court Against Debt Collector

How to Liquidate Debt

Arkansas Statute of Limitations on Debt

Youre Drowning in Debt — Heres How to Swim

Help! Im Being Sued by My Debt Collector

How to Make a Motion to Vacate Judgment

How to Answer Summons for Debt Collection in Vermont

North Dakota Statute of Limitations on Debt

ClearPoint Debt Management Review

Indiana Statute of Limitations on Debt

Oregon Eviction Laws - What They Say

CuraDebt Debt Settlement Review

How to Write a Re-Aging Debt Letter

How to Appear in Court by Phone

How to Use the Doctrine of Unclean Hands

Debt Consolidation in Eugene, Oregon

Summoned to Court for Medical Bills? What to Do Next

How to Make a Debt Settlement Agreement

Received a 3-Day Eviction Notice? Heres What to Do

How to Answer a Lawsuit for Debt Collection

Tips for Leaving the Country With Unpaid Credit Card Debt

Kansas Statute of Limitations on Debt Collection

How to File in Small Claims Court in Iowa

How to File a Civil Answer in Kings County Supreme Court

Roseland Associates Debt Consolidation Review

How to Stop a Garnishment

Debt Eraser Review

Do Debt Collectors Ever Give Up?

Can They Garnish Your Wages for Credit Card Debt?

How Often Do Credit Card Companies Sue for Non-Payment?

How Long Does a Judgement Last?

​​How Long Before a Creditor Can Garnish Wages?

How to Beat a Bill Collector in Court

Not sued yet?

Use our Debt Validation Letter.

Out Debt Validation Letter is the best way to respond to a collection letter. Many debt collectors will simply give up after receiving it.

Let's Do It

It only takes 15 minutes.

And 50% of our customers' cases have been dismissed in the past.

"Finding yourself on the wrong side of the law unexpectedly is kinda scary. I started researching on YouTube and found SoloSuit's channel. The videos were so helpful, easy to understand and encouraging. When I reached out to SoloSuit they were on it. Very professional, impeccably prompt. Thanks for the service!" - Heather

Get Started