Creating Bulletproof Affidavits
Creating Bulletproof Affidavits
Recorded on June 29, 2017 @ 3:00 p.m. MST with Torri Schaffer
As a professional process server, your affidavit is your ultimate work product. Your customers rely on you to produce legible, professional affidavits that will be accepted by the court. In this webinar Torri will discuss the basics of a properly filling out and creating affidavits.
Torri Schaffer A process server with over 25 years experience in the industry, Torri Schaffer is also the president and founding member of the Mid Atlantic Association of Professional Process Servers (MAAPPS) and a former board member of the National Association of Professional Process Servers (NAPPS).
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This webinar was presented as a part of the ServeNowEDU Webinar series. To watch other previously recorded webinars and to register for upcoming webinars, visit ServeNowEDU.
Resources and Summary
We are the arm of the attorney. Our work is the reflection of the attorneys that sent you the job. Affidavits of Service are the product of our work as process servers. It’s our job to provide our clients with professional affidavits.
What is an Affidavit?
An affidavit is defined as a written statement of facts, sworn to and signed by the affiant. Some states require a notary to be present for the signing. If the state where the documents originated requires a notary seal, the documents must be signed in front of a notary. A good way to think of an affidavit is a document of facts in which you swear the facts are true and correct. If you’re signing an affidavit, make sure you read what you’re signing in its entirety and only sign if you agree with all statements.
Affidavit in Process Serving
An affidavit in process serving, also known as affidavit of service or proof of service, is a document provided by the process server that states the pertinent facts of the service including name of defendant, date of service, name of person providing service, etc. It’s an official document that confirms a service has been effected. In most cases it gets filed with the court. In the case of a non-service, an affidavit of due diligence is provided. There should be an affidavit created for every party served.
As part of doing our job, we need to provide the attorney with all the information that we can. - Torri
Types of Affidavits
There are state and federal affidavits of service for the documents issued by state or federal courts respectively.
- Substitute Service (Personal/Business)
- Corporate/Partnership Service
- Due Diligence (Affidavit of Attempts)
- Posted Service
With substitute service in most states, the person you are subserving must be a co-resident of the person being served.
Substitute to a person should include the relationship to the party being served (husband, mother, etc.).
Substitute personal affidavit:
Substitute business affidavit:
When numerous attempts of service have been made and the service was unsuccessful, an affidavit of due diligence is provided.
How You Can Legally Provide Posted Service
Rules depend on the state you’re in. For example, in Maryland you must have a court order from a judge to post legal documents. Once process is posted on the main entrance door, take a picture and attach it to the affidavit.
All federal affidavit forms can be found online and downloaded on your computer. Make sure you have the forms with the latest revision date. Below are examples of federal affidavits.
AO 440: Summons in civil action.
AO 88: Subpoena to appear and testify at a hearing or trial in a civil action.
AO 88A: Subpoena to testify at a deposition in a civil action.
AO 88B: Subpoena to produce documents, information, or objects or to permit inspection of premises in a civil action.
Parts of an Affidavit
A case caption includes:
- Court Name
- Court Case Number
- Affidavit Name
The affiant statement states who you are and how you relate to the case parties. How flexible is the affiant statement?
What it must state:
- You are over 18
- You’re not a party to the action
- That the facts are true and correct
A service statement will contain:
- Date and time of service
- Name of person served
- Type of documents served
- Type of service
- Address of service
- Description of person served
Below is an example of a personal service statement.
An example of a corporate service statement:
If the list of documents served don’t fit in the designated space on the affidavit, type them on an additional sheet, title it “list of documents served,” and attach it to the affidavit.
Signature and Notary Blocks:
Not all states require affidavits to be notarized. For example, Maryland and Virginia do not require a notary but the District of Columbia does.
An example of a notarized affidavit of service:
How to Prepare an Affidavit
Upon completion of the service, the process server is responsible for preparing their own affidavit of service. If you are a contractor at a process serving company, the company will do it for you.
An affidavit can be prepared in one of the following ways:
- Use of professional process serving software. These have built in templates for different types of services.
- Download the NAPPS affidavit from napps.org (you need to be a member to use this feature).
- Type it into a Word document.
- If you have no access to any of the options above, hand print legibly in blue ink.
As far as using software templates, Trent Carlyle recommends, “If you’re not using a software solution, definitely look at what’s out there because it’ll make your life a lot easier not just with making affidavits but managing your entire business.”
Is there one resource that lists all the rules surrounding affidavits?
There is no one location with all the rules for every state, but there are still resources where you can find the information you need. For example, ServeNow has a list of statutes and, when in doubt, ask the attorney involved in the case. Your process server should also be familiar with the current rules for your particular state.
For more information and affidavit horror stories, watch the webinar with Torri above.