How to change your name

Scattered scrabble pieces with purple ones spelling "name"

Most people are aware that you can change your name by Deed Poll, but there is in fact a is far simpler way.

The Deed Poll process involves sending to the Court:

– a change of name deed signed by 2 witnesses

– a Statutory Declaration by a homeowner you have known for 10 years, witnessed by a solicitor.

– a notice for the London Gazette;

– evidence of your British citizenship; and

– any other relevant documents, such as a marriage certificate and/or divorce order.

In addition, if you are married your spouse has to provide a letter of consent.

After a few weeks the Court will publish the notice in the London Gazette and return your enrolled change of name deed with a registration number, and then you can start telling people about the change.

The process is known as Deed “Poll” because in the past the edges of a change of name deed would be “polled”, meaning trimmed or shaved.

There is a much quicker and easier way to change your name. If you complete a properly worded and witnessed change of name deed, it takes effect on the day you sign it. You do not need a declaration from someone who knows you or the consent of your spouse. Only one witness is needed, which can be any adult who is not related to you. However, some agencies do not accept a change of name unless it has been witnessed by a solicitor and so whilst this is not legally required it is a good idea, to avoid any problems. The solicitor who draws up your change of name deed can arrange for another solicitor to witness it.

Changing a child’s name involves a similarly unwieldy process through Deed Poll but again can be affected with a simple change of name deed. For a child under 18 every person with Parental Responsibility must either sign the change of name deed or provide a letter of consent to be kept with it and if all the relevant adults do not agree, a court order is needed. For a child aged 16 or 17 the child must also confirm their consent.

Some foreign countries and authorities will only accept a Deed Poll as evidence of a change of name, but in most cases the shorter process is all you need.