What Constitutes Proper Showing of Substantial Compliance

The essential elements of certificates of acknowledgments will vary depending on the jurisdiction and the type of instrument being acknowledged. Substantial compliance with any statute must appear affirmatively from an inspection of the certificate. What constitutes substantial compliance is largely controlled by statute.

Parol evidence is not admissible to supply omissions or cure defects, nor may material statements be supplied by inference or presumption. However, the certificate and the instrument to which it relates may be read together in order to determine whether the certificate complies with the statute.

For instance,  if a certificate of acknowledgment on a deed of trust stating that the grantors personally appeared before the notary, acknowledged their execution of the deed of trust, together with the notary’s affidavit establishing that s/he knew the signors to be the individuals who executed the deed, may be treated as  substantial compliance with statutory requirements for a certificate of acknowledgment.

Another instance is where a mortgage was executed on behalf of a corporate mortgagor by the president and the secretary/treasurer of the corporation. A certificate of acknowledgment was executed by a notary public stating that the corporation itself was the mortgagor, the acknowledgment substantially complied with the essential requisites of the statute governing the execution and acknowledgment of mortgages despite the certificate’s failure to state the names of the president and secretary as signors of the mortgage.


Inside What Constitutes Proper Showing of Substantial Compliance