How do I go about a Change of Name legally?

12 March 2021

A Busy Office

How you can Change Your Name Legally, the consequences and meanings of a Deed Poll and Enrolled Deed Poll 

In this article we consider the consequences of legally changing your name, what is a deed poll or enrolled deed poll, how much it costs to change your name, and how to change a child’s name by deed poll.

However, it is interesting to note how straightforward it can be to change your name. Names can be freely changed, and a change of name deed (sometimes referred to as a ‘deed poll’) is useful evidence of having done so.

What is a Change of Name Deed Poll?

A Change of Name Deed Poll is a legal document used in the United Kingdom, Ireland, and some other countries who have legal systems based on English common law to record an intended name change by a person.

Some organisations, such as government departments issuing passports and driving licences, may not recognise a name change without such a deed. However, an official document is not a legal requirement for a valid name change under common law.

A Change of Name Deed is something you can easily do by using our templates.  Alternatively, an Enrolled Deed Poll is an on-line Government facility costing £42.44*. The application goes through the Royal Courts and your change of name will be published. However, not everybody wishes to have this and therefore choose a change of name deed like (our) Change of Name Deed template  costing £18* (plus VAT)

There is no government function in the UK which has responsibility for registering its citizens’ identification. The unenrolled deed alone is enough proof that a person has chosen to be identified by a different name. The courts have already declared (in 1977) that enrolling a deed is not a legal requirement.

Thinking of Change of Name Legally

Why change your name?

There are many reasons why someone may decide to change their name and they are allowed to do so once they turn 16. There are many valid reasons for changing your name, here are a few:

  • I have started to live with someone whose surname I wish to adopt
  • I’m divorced and want to change my name away from my married name
  • I don’t like my birth name
  • I wish to make a fresh start
  • My surname is complicated and wish to have a simplified version
  • I’m getting married and wish to have a combination surname of both our surnames
  • I’ve changed gender and need a new appropriate name.

Are there any limitations to changing my name?

Please note however that it isn’t permitted to use a change of name to pretend to be someone else or for fraudulent reasons. You cannot change your name to anything that is offensive, blasphemous or promotes illegal activity, discrimination, or hatred. Names containing marks and numbers may not be permitted nor can you give yourself a title without authority.

How do I change my name legally?

The most used and effective process for legally changing a name in the UK is by a change of name deed, referred to above. A change of name deed is a legal document that proves the change of name, and it can be used as evidence of your new title for the purposes of amending your passport, driving licence and other official documents. Simply fill in our change of name template and get it signed and witnessed – simple.

The deed confirms that you have given up your old name and will instead use the new name for all purposes. This deed is your private document and you do not need to register it anywhere.

How to change a child’s name by Deed Poll.

Anyone under 16 requires either a court order or the consent of everyone with parental control to be able to effect a change of name deed. You probably need legal advice to get the court order if all those with parental control do not agree to the change. 

What are the consequences of changing my name?

You should be consistent in your actions and keep to the new name especially when it comes to seeking credit.

You will need to notify the financial institutions. Remember to change your passport, driving licence etc. If you have attempted to change your name to a name which is not permitted (see above) – you will be unlikely to be given a passport.

You will need to inform your utility providers, bank/building society establishments, clubs, other accounts, and of course your friends and family!

It makes sense to get copies made of your deed as some institutions may ask for this as proof for their records. You will see from our template that the deed needs to be witnessed - anyone who is adult and independent can be that witness. However, if witnessed by a solicitor, this will add authenticity to the whole scenario. The solicitor will be able to provide you with ‘certified copies’ to give to banks etc who may ask for such formal proof.

You can use our easy-to-follow template create your own   Change of Name Deed - £18* (plus VAT)

John Davies
8th March 2021

Saving you time and money

We hope you enjoy our short informative blogs. We are all about empowering the individual to take better ownership and control of the legal aspects of their personal and business life. We have a plethora of legal document templates that are quick and easy to explore and create. What's more, creation and editing is free. Explore our templates here 

*Government website charge and our charge was correct at time of blog publication. These may change in the future.