Declarations Legal Forms
What are Declarations?
Legal Declarations, closely related to affidavits, are written announcements that a certain fact is true. For example, a common example of legal declaration is a Name Declaration, in which a person (the “Declarant”) announces that they are the same person who is known under a different name.
Affidavits are useful because they are considered to be declarations made under oath; in other words, they are legally-binding and any falsehoods made therein could be considered perjury. For this reason, it’s important to stick to simple facts when making a legal declaration of some sort.
What is the difference between a Declaration and an Affidavit?
A Declaration could be simply described as an Affidavit without being under oath. A Declaration, for example, is simply a written statement of fact. If this statement is made under oath, then it becomes an Affidavit. For this reason, the two types of documents are considered separate and distinct, even if the general purpose behind them – an affirmation of truth – is the same. Understanding this difference is critical.
If an Affidavit is legally-binding, what is the purpose of a Declaration?
Declarations are most often employed to put written facts to paper that do not require the added specter of being “under oath.” It is not always required to make a statement under oath, so written declarations that fall “short” of being a full affidavit are perfectly appropriate. Because each type of declaration has a place in the legal system, it’s important to know what might be required of you in specific situations; for example, patent applications are a type of filing that can require a declaration without an affidavit.
What is the difference between a Deposition and Affidavits/Declarations?
A deposition serves to illicit sworn testimony from a witness in a case outside of the regular courtroom setting – and oftentimes before a court case is actually called to order. These are different than Affidavits and Declarations because of the possibility of questioning and cross-examinations. Affidavits and Declarations, you’ll recall, are simply written statements that are not subject to this kind of examination. Depositions differ from most Declarations in that they are sworn statements of fact and are similar to Affidavits in this same regard.
What else separates a Declaration from an Affidavit?
Typically, there’s one fundamental difference you’ll notice if you’ve ever come across both in your life: the necessity of having the document notarized. This is the case for Affidavits but not the case for General Declarations.
What is the purpose of a Name Declaration?
Because people change names or often use aliases in some cases, it’s important that they establish the relationship between these names through a Name Declaration. In a Name Declaration, a person will simply affirm that they are also known by another name. This is typically required in court cases when the issue arises, but may also be relevant for certain types of applications that might require this information.
What kinds of elements comprise most Declarations?
There are a few elements common to most Declarations, including:
- Identification of the Declarant: Simply put this identifies the person doing the declaring, though this is separate and distinct from the final declaration signature.
- Location: The location – city, state, etc. – of the Declarant is often needed for purposes of understanding which laws and regulations apply to the declaration.
- Facts: Which facts are being declared? Those are detailed in this section.
- Signature: The declaration is not finished until signed. In an Affidavit, a Notary acknowledgement will also be required near this section; however, as discussed, these are not necessary for all declarations.
What should I know before making a Declaration?
There are a number of things you should know, both from a legal standpoint and from a general common sense standpoint. From the legal perspective, you should know exactly what a declaration is considered under the law and how binding they can be. Although most declarations do not carry the same legal weight as affidavits, it’s still important to know that making a declaration can represent a different type of crime if you’re deliberately misleading someone – i.e., fraud. You should have the same confidence in your declared facts with a written declaration as you would any affidavit.
From a common sense standpoint, you’ll also need to know when to use declarations and when they are not necessary. If you can avoid them, do so; however, if they’re necessary for filing applications, for example, you should feel comfortable using them, as well.
What is a Notary Public’s role in Declarations?
Generally, a Notary Public will not have a role in verifying written Declarations simply because they are not required. If you believe you are signing a written Declaration and a Notary Public is requested, you should be aware that you might actually be signing an affidavit with considerably more binding legal power attached to it.
What is required for a General Declaration to be valid?
As is the case in many contracts, there are a number of requirements that must be met for a General Declaration to be valid, even if these requirements are not as stringent as those of affidavits.
In order for a General Declaration to be valid, it should be signed with the full knowledge of the Declarant – who also knows what they are signing and is not somehow coerced into signing the document. (For example, a General Declaration is not a valid document if someone forces you into signing it; it defeats the purpose of the Declaration). Additionally, some other constraints (such as the age of the person signing the Declaration) will also be taken into account just as age is taken into account in the signing of contracts.
What roles do General Declarations have in court?
Generally, the role of a General or Name Declaration in court is not the same as those of affidavits or sworn testimony; their general use is better surmised when reading applications for certain registration and sign-ups, including patents. However, this does not mean that a General Declaration you’ve signed in the past could not be used in a court proceeding.