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An affidavit is a document that certifies that the information you provide is true. It's similar to making a sworn statement in court, but in written form. Affidavits require a signature to be legally binding. There are several different categories of affidavits, including forms for financial applications, business lawsuits, estate planning, divorce proceedings, child support matters and immigration applications. The details differ, but in every case, you swear that the information you provide is correct.

Affidavits are frequently required for legal matters, government forms and financial applications. For example, family members generally need an affidavit of death for matters related to a loved one's will. For child custody hearings, parents must provide a financial affidavit and an affidavit of residence to show their addresses and income. Some government benefit applications require a financial affidavit to ensure that the applicants meet income requirements for the program.

In most states, affidavits must be notarized. This means that you have to sign the document in front of an authorized notary public. Many banks have notaries, and you can also check the National Notary Association's website for a list of notaries in your area. You also usually need to sign the form in front of a witness. Some states allow for remote online notarization using electronic signatures, but not all of them.